Hello homophobia!

This is my new website design so welcome!

I've wanted to review the content for a while now - for practical reasons of course - but more importantly, because of certain reactions to my work, which have forced me to confront some surprising, and slightly icky realities.

I live in Lisbon, Portugal (long story), a place which in spite of its current (and mostly deserved) trendiness, has struggled with an endemic streak of conservatism, or self-consciousness, since it shook itself free of decades of authoritarian rule a generation ago.

The art scene is bustling but lacks flow. It's a frustrating place for outsiders, for the most part, (hence a lack of international faces), though this is changing. All complain of this, and then rinse and repeat. Better the devil you know. There is a lack of critical objectivity.

Interestingly, as "queer" gains a voice on this crowded stage, not all cultural agents approve - though they insist they're not prejudiced. I don't like labels, so I don't know how much I like this one either, but I've adopted it by default. The fact is, I enjoy goofing around with my sexuality, in art and in my life. I have a restlessly frivolous, provocative streak - but often, I don't even realise I'm getting under someone's skin, till they try and put me in my place.

Only recently, a man who runs a glossy cultural publication of some repute here with his (female) partner, and is, to be frank, the king of snark, took the time to inform me how my versatility works against me. Granted, I am my harshest critic, so I LOVE getting negative criticism! But he had more to say. He didn't know why (when the heterosexual male is under relentless attack), gays can flaunt themselves (and their desires) with no apparent backlash.

When I created my original site here, I deliberated how queer I wanted to appear. I, at times in my life, have dodged the homosexual artist label, as I felt it limited me. I believed it trivialised my work, or hindered my acceptance as a "serious" artist. Lord knows, there is as much "bad" (I prefer the term "lazy") gay art, as there is of any other kind. It is vital to constantly question, and try to be better.

I now know that my reaction was one of internalised homophobia. I am a 50-year old white, out male with a level of financial stability, so I should have relatively little to worry about. And yet I have rarely felt so uneasy as now. I would perhaps add, the last time I felt this pessimistic was in the 1980s, when I was struggling to come out, when the Tories introduced Section 28 in the UK, and when we were hearing of a big disease with a little name for the very first time.

So, as this site with its faggy themes goes to show, I'm no longer going to listen to the King of Snark, or the tenacious doubting voice in my head. I hope you enjoy my - at times - flaming, queer art.

Colin GinksComment