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This exploration was hard for me as I have never thought that deeply about what I create. My previous creative process was to simply design garments and art that I thought was interesting and wanted to wear.

My first idea was to create something inspired from my childhood dream careers, but I felt as though this wasn’t thoughtful enough. I wanted to create something that unravels a challenge or experience from my past that is specific to me. I thought about when I was back in school and how I was the first male in the whole school to be Head of Hair and Makeup. Not only was I the first male makeup artist working at school musicals, but I was the only male enrolled in soft technologies (fashion design) through my high school education. It was great to get recognition for my work but something that came with this was the assumption from my peers that I was gay. Because of my choice to pursue Fashion, some of my male peers used the stereotypes of this industry as an excuse to insult and relentlessly tease me. While I never consider being called gay an insult, it did sometimes negatively impact my relationships with my friends and the experience of being mislabelled prove to be frustrating and upsetting at some times. I tried not to take anything to heart because people I looked up to would tell me, “Yea well you’re a guy doing makeup and fashion design, what do you expect?”. I found that it was common for people to use this as an excuse to push ‘sexuality labels’ on people in the creative industries. At first, I found this shocking but as I grew up and the more, I thought about it, the more I realised how widespread these stereotypes and expectations were throughout my society that had toxic masculinity embedded so deeply throughout it. It also became clear to me that these generalisations aren’t only impacting men in the fashion and makeup industries, but also men in other creative industries such as the performing arts. This stereotype to some may have been a simple joke but the impact for those who are being ladled can be quite drastic. People mislabeling my sexuality led me to think about toxic masculinity.

For this project I wanted to create a sculpture that captures and relays my experiences to my audience as well as give them an opportunity to relate to it in their own way. I chose to create a sculpture because I wanted to use this broad prompt to further my exploration around materials such as plaster, fiberglass, and mesh metals. My plan was to design a face that is split in two, one half depicts what society expects a ‘man’ to be like and the other is an expression of being free and presenting yourself however you wish, disregarding labels.

My passion doesn’t determine my sexuality.

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