“I use the penis in my artwork for multiple reasons, all which are twisted together and play off one another. I have a hard time taking them apart and explaining the individual pieces. It’s much easier for me to explain individual projects: this project explores societal power structures; this one looks at my obsession/fascination with my own penis; and this one tries to understand why a large part of our identities is tied to body parts we have no role in choosing.”
Why do you sculpt and draw the penis?
A lot of how I understand myself and the world is through the natural sciences. My artwork is my way of taking ecological and biological systems and using them to deconstruct cultural norms and power structures.
Everything revolves around sex. Animals search for food, fight and travel long distances in order to survive long enough to pass their genetics on to the next generation. Everything in biology can be traced back to sex, whether its the search of a partner or the overarching structure of our world.
In short, I use the penis in my artwork because I find it to be the best object to use when talking about multiple issues at once. I find the penis to be one of the most versatile metaphors.
What reactions have you had to your art?
Most of the reactions to my work have been positive. People will laugh at first, and then seek me out in private to talk about their experiences in more depth. While more people want to talk to me about my art because of my use of penises, no one wants to show my work. That’s been the biggest hurtle–finding any space that will allow me to hang a bunch of dicks on the wall.
Thank you Tristan for your thoughtful answers, and keep up the great and interesting art work!