Shopping Queer     Our creatives       LGBTQ+ Directory       Events      About      Join us     Contact us    ︎

Frank Duffy

I want to provoke questions about what we are socially conditioned to believe to be normal, and by extension morally correct, especially when we think about the gender binary, neurotypicality and sexuality.

I am interested in the desire for certainty, and in the way that strange, uncertain and liminal spaces and behaviours often provoke discomfort. My feeling is that allowing ourselves space for the unknown, the shifting, the weird, and for death, we can begin to see how the things considered to be normal are actually harmful to us, as well as being fundamentally weird themselves. Turning away from certainty also allows us to view life with wonder and curiosity. I am an animist and am enchanted with the world, and I try to share this perspective in my work, hence the witchcraft and folklore themes. When I am on my own in the woods I am far away from the society that is determined to put me in one of two boxes – nature is a space without those kinds of labels and is all the more magical to me for that.

I collage from old copies of Playboy, the Jehovah’s Witness magazine Watchtower, right-wing newspapers like the Daily Mail and the Telegraph, and new-age pamphlets. These publications might all seem very different, but they are united in their conservative concepts of gender and gender roles. By cutting out examples from these texts and placing them out of context I hope to show how strange and artificial the social constructions of the gender binary and heterosexuality are.

I like to use old, rejected and repurposed materials, often packaging cardboard and wrapping paper, as well as pre-used canvases painted by other people, moving away from the pristine new beginning of a blank surface. I like rough edges and visible processes in my pictures and in life.

I adore sparkly children’s stickers. I find them fascinating: on the surface they are perhaps symbols of carefree innocence, but upon closer inspection they are often badly drawn, obviously plastic, and there are often many of the same design on the same sheet which, when repeated close to each other, become uncanny and corrupt the space around them.

And the crows? They are agents of chaos. They create and destroy and cackle gleefully while they do it. I love them.


On your face, 2021