Q: You're making this stuff to just get in our faces, right?
A: Ohhh, I could do much better than this if that was my goal.
Q: (About the fuck doily) Why don't you just put a question mark at the end? It would be more honest. You're just looking to get fucked. Right?
A: The first time I got this question, I was at a professional business meeting in forward thinking, innovation seeking, Silicon Valley (the one near San Jose and San Francisco). A small group of us were discussing what we did. I had just described a couple pieces of my art when a guy asked me that question. I let some time pass to see if he was joking. No, he wasn't. I explained a bit more but it soon became apparent that there was only one way for him to see the meaning of a fuck doily. Ok, then. I guess it's the same as how some see high heels and short skirts. The other two times I got this question, I was in similar environments and I didn't even try to discuss it further. Everyone is absolutely entitled to their opinion of what an object means to them. It's quite another thing to be so sure one knows why someone else created it.
Q: So what does that doily mean to you then?
A: To me, the fuck doily stands for anything anyone feels they want to talk about but can't. It asks just how pretty we have to make something before we can talk about it. I offer it as a symbol for anyone to use to help them find a way to talk about whatever they need to talk about. Some have offered others virtual fuck doilies with this link. Some send their secrets to postsecret.com. While some are looking for a real live person to talk with, they write their secrets on pieces of paper and then burn them or throw them away in a public trash can.
Q: Everyone likes your stuff, don't they?
A: Hahahaa!! I got this question at a talk I gave. I was not prepared for it. I laughed out loud, then proceeded to describe the guy who adamantly resisted looking at some little crochet genitalia I was about to pull out of my pocket. He held his hand out at arms length blocking his view in case I did pull it out. Plus, he turned his head away and demanded "Please, don't show me what you've got in your pocket." "Ok, I won't. No worries, man. Take it easy. It's alright, I won't hurt you, promise."
I also described the time when my fuck doily was on display at the Triton Museum in Santa Clara. A woman walked by and spontaneously turned it over because, it turns out, she was offended by it. At first I laughed because it's just as easily readable turned over. Then I got mad knowing there are lots of places I cannot display these pieces but this museum should've been an acceptable place. This story ends magically though. Several weeks after the show, I received a phonecall from a woman I didn't know. I called her back. She was the woman who turned my piece over. She said, "I want to apologize for turning your doily over." I was elated! I assumed she was saying she was fine with it. I blathered on for a while, all bubbly and happy, then noticed she wasn't saying anything. I stopped. She said, "I just want to apologize for turning your doily over." I said sincerely, "Thank you." We hung up.
Then there's the female lawyer who was uncomfortable discussing my work but declared she would absolutely defend my right to create it. And the guy who felt I shouldn't make this stuff because it could get misinterpreted badly. And ... and ...
Q: So, all your stuff is about sex?
A: Well, it might look like that and yes, if you mean sex in the most general of terms --- genitalia - what it looks like and how we look at it, gender roles, sexual orientation, etc., etc. --- a lot of it is about sex because sex is just sitting right there begging to be toyed with. But my underlying motivation is to shine light on things that impact our lives that we find difficult to talk about. Body parts, body image, sexual orientation, emotions, family arrangements, lover arrangements, religion, value systems, philosophy, meaning of life (including no meaning), types of fear (worry/prefrontal cortex, PTSD/amygdala, panic attacks/hypothalamus), depression, suicide. Someone else's fear around a subject matter should not transfer to me not being permitted to discuss it - with at least Some One willing and interested in discussing it. It's not that I want to knock any of it or force the uninterested. I just want to treat it a little lighter so that it's easier to talk about for those of us who want to.
We may grow up learning these fears and then sometimes our life implodes and basically just forces us to find some way to discuss these things. Ok, that's happened to at least one person I know. Yes, that's kind of a high level sum-up of my life so far.
Q: So is this your way of changing the world?
A: Uh, well, I did start out there. But very quickly I found that really, -I- wanted to talk about this stuff and I was uncomfortable doing so but I Had To find a way because I couldn't go on without these conversations and getting real with myself. I'm not going for drama here. The rubber met the road just like that for me. For too many years, I wasn't finding the conversations I really wanted and, I would argue, needed. And my mind got all backed up ;) You know, it's a lot like if you become deficient in some nutrient for an extended length of time. It is also a lot like constipation.
Making my art and putting it out there has been a way for me to get comfortable with these topics and to find those who are comfortable in the world I want to travel in. Often, people see my stuff and say, "oh, that's cool" and we go on to talk about something more important that we probably would not have felt ok talking about otherwise but it has nothing to do with the art, per se. It's just that each of us wants to talk about more personal and meaningful topics and the art helps bridge that gap quickly.
For those who are put off by my work, well, I'm not trying to reach those. I understand it's not for everyone.
Q: You don't have pink hair? I was sure you'd have pink hair.
A: I'm not much into dying.