“Sus autorretratos, sus máscaras, pero eventualmente todo, son un cuerpo de trabajo muy unificado; todo es muy sexy, pero de una manera infantil que parece irónica y un poco oscura. Se trata de desvergüenza; la manera en que los niños pueden tocar, por ejemplo”.
Adora: Teddy, Have you seen the shots from Tawnie Silva’s last party at the Lemon City Day School? The energy is spectacular; like one of those ‘Happenings’ from the Beatnik and Hippie Era.
Teddy Behr: Yeah…His parties are like those famous Happenings but very NOW, LGBTQ Happenings, and even though we go back to the old days on South Beach, the kids now are still breaking away and creating a new fun paradigm where identity is fluid…kind of like interactive self-discovery. With his art, you could discover something you didn’t expect about yourself or someone else.
Adora: In the 90’s guys holding hands was a thing, but most people weren’t ready to throw gender to the wind. Remember when men skirts came out? However, they were always worn with big chunky boots. It was fun, and chipped away at the old sh*t, I guess. However, Gays were still chasing ‘butch.’ To be who you feel like in the moment and let someone else worry about which box to check on government forms, was a long way off.
Now it’s all blown wide open. It transcends gender. The whole idea that anybody’s SUPPOSED to be ANYTHING (according to some social expectations) is left behind.
We wanted to be allowed to be who we are and felt we weren’t allowed to be. In some ways though, we set-up our own standards of what was acceptable, and criticized each other.’
Teddy Behr: Yeah, new ground was broken and it was liberating, but there was still a lot of focus on being ‘butch’ n ‘buff’ …Which is why I got to doing Teddy Behr. A soft female guy who wasn’t embarrassed to be sweet.
Tawnie’s art, his self-portraits, his masks, but eventually all of it, are a very unified body of work; it’s all very sexy, but in a child-like way that seems ironic, and a bit dark.
They’re about shamelessness; the way children can be about touching, for example. Maybe the series on ‘Dildo the Clown’ is a good example of the way Tawnie s work invites everyone to join in and play; a world where sexual expression and experimentation are what matter, no baggage attached.
Adora: South Beach was cool because nobody had anything to prove, except maybe how funny or creative they could be (at least in the early days). Ego wasn’t in the equation. Tawnies parties, his masks, swings, play-pens where he sets-up scenarios for people to come and play, have that thing too. It’s all for fun. Creatively engaged role-playing. It’s really an art that has a social purpose. It’s not about him, or his masks, it’s about who put the mask on and how they’re working it. So, it’s like taking creative partying to the next level.
Teddy Behr: It’s great to put Tawnie’s personally liberating fun-based work and his events out there. South Florida still has a big and ever growing LGBTQ community. In his own process of self-discovery, Tawnie Silva’s showing a lot of younger people coming-up a way forward. And, it’s so cool the way he’s found a way to be a participating member of our community.
music links: herculesandloveaffair. net/