During the past few years I have been able to make friends and acquaintances from all over the world from my travels. Many of these people I have met reside on the west coast of the United States. These men have always been admirable to me, being emotionally open, sexually confident, and inspirational. Many have taught me to be more in tune with myself, being open and honest, but at most, true to my ideas behind my art work creation.
What I am looking to do is spend an extended period of time (2-3 weeks) on the west coast, visiting and meeting up with these men, and further developing my bond and relationship with them, while producing a series of photographs, videos, and performances. They have taught me so much and I now want to collaborate with them, working off of each other, exploring the topics of male to male relationships, sexuality, and identity together. I feel there are few gay men that I can relate to. I have struggled for years being uncomfortable around other gay mean, holding onto anxious stereotypes of them being overly sexual, indulgent, and selfish. I wish to break free of these apprehensions, and explore a more realistic view of a male connection.
Seattle, Washington holds two men, Adam Boehmer (Lead singer and creator of the band Tenderfoot) and Jess Wamre (visual artist), who have been pivotal characters in my understanding of male intimacy, mostly with romance and relationships. We have had many dialogs together, to the extent of us getting emotionally upset and exhausted, opening up the barrier of trust between each other. These men have always, and will always be important figures in my life. They have seen many sides of me that many people have not experienced, knowing the type of work that I like to do. Adam has been a Muse to me in some ways, allowing me to video tape, photograph, and work together in other areas that I haven’t been able to do with other people. Jess has always been the confidence I lacked, pushing me to try new things, but also holding my hand along the way while I did it.
I feel close to these two individuals because they have allowed me to understand male friendship and connection. This homosocial behavior has been stunted for generations with the overly masculine push from the mainstream society. Men don’t walk arm in arm, stand close, hug, or show any forms of affection that we see from our counterpart of women, or even in other countries. I feel that these connections I have with Adam and Jess must be recorded, understood and shared with my audience. I want to work with them to see what works we can produce and further develop.
As I make my way down the west coast, I want to stop in Portaland, Oregon and visit my dear friend Wayne Bund. He has always worked side by side with similar ideas of me, looking at representations of masculinity, exploring different perspectives of gender using drag and nature. These attributes have always been fascinating to me, and Wayne can push those limits with me, cultivating further interpretations and explorations of gender in gay men. Wayne is free spirited and has a great knowledge of west coast queer history, mature and knowledgeable, I look to him for guidance and adventures in the woods of Oregon.
After Portland is the mecca of gay history and culture, San Francisco. This city has always provided me with great influences from my photographic work, and kicked off my first video work entitled Beard Love. This city if full of creative artists and people I have come to love and work with. I’m looking to build my Queer history and knowledge here on my last stop on my trip, and to work and meet up with a variety of artists.
So what is to come out of all of this traveling and meetings, art work of course! I’m looking to produce a series of photographs and videos surrounding me and these other people, integrating myself with my work, but also looking at these types of relationships. The works will be mostly produced in video and photography. With your help and support I will be able to physically produce this work. Costs of Photographic printing and framing have risen over the past few years, and being part of a series, these images will be produced in limited edition archival prints. I have always believed in high quality printing, and to do so, it requires high quality papers, inks, and storage. The video work that comes out of these projects will be produced similar to my previous series, in editions, all which have costs in DVDs, casing, and information (example seen below). Your support will help fund these projects and allow them to be put into production.
Also With your support and donations you will get to choose from an array of original Sean M. Johnson art work. Each donation, no matter what value gives back something that I have made in the past to you. There are a variety of different donation levels, including my beard love work, small prints, and even larger prints, of almost everything I’ve done in previous years. I want to thank each and everyone one of you with the support so that I can start making new work that I couldn’t financially do before. To see more about my work and know more about me, please visit my website at www.seanMjohnson.com.