Raphael is 24 years old from Cyprus. He is a theatre graduate from Royal Holloway University of London. In London, he performed with Ponyboy Curtis, a queer all-male ensemble run by Chris Good. In addition to acting in and co-directing various amateur stage and film productions, Raphael now focuses on expressing his queerness through poetry and art. This led him to create ULTRAMASCULINE, a growing platform that advocates for and expresses alternative routes to manhood, alienated from patriarchal constructs.
Ultimately a performative title, ULTRAMASCULINE is both sarcastic and serious at the same time: it intends to disidentify with patriarchal masculine assumptions, while calling upon a queer future. Under this title, Raphael has published two zines that stand as an on-going series.
The presented work takes as points of reference Raphael's two current zines. A coming out prologue and a soft dialogue between a boy and his tender heart. Stirring away from attempts to intellectualize queerness, the work aspires to create a conversation that focuses on self-love, acceptance and emotional awareness. His poems are short and intimate, sometimes erotic and other times almost a crying out for help. His illustrations are something similar. Using a monitor screen, he traces the outline of images and then manipulate them. He describes this methodology as a 'queering' of the actual image to produce a drawing that falls somewhere in between what is real and what is perceived. This allows the artworks to become free and imaginative line drawings, depicting a fluid identity and how it can be imagined to exist in the world. The artworks represent ethereal and ephemeral scenes that exist in a queer universe, a utopia of the heart.
pencil on paper