I’m very excited to welcome the talented Shay Briscoe to my site today. Shay is one of the three lovely artists who gave me a very special gift for the launch of my latest novel, Body Temperature and Rising. Shay, along with Fuschia Ayling (who was my guest recently) and Jess Pritchard (who will hopefully be my guest in the near future) volunteered to illustrate three scenes from my novel, three scenes that I planned to read at the launch party. At the time they were exhibiting some of their work at Sh! Portobello. I was elated with their offer, and my guests and I were totally enthralled with the end result! It is a total pleasure to have Shay on my site today to tell us a bit about himself and to share a little of his wonderful work with us. Welcome, Shay!
KD: Have you always known you wanted to be an artist?
SB: I only really got into art around three years ago, upon meeting the lovely Fuschia Ayling and realising that I don’t have to be a good painter to be a good artist. I was a chef for a long time before I started making art, though I knew that cheffing was not the career I wanted. When I discovered my passion for art at the age of twenty-one, I finally knew what I wanted to do with my life!
KD: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Shay.
SB:I grew up in Gloucestershire in a large family. When I was eighteen I began coming
to terms with the fact that I was transgender and slowly took steps to become the boy I should have been born as. I currently study fine art at Kingston University, and I am engaged to fellow artist Fuschia Ayling. I have a very nice ferret called Floppy, and I have serious love for dinosaurs, Greek mythology, playing stupid games on my laptop, cats, trivia and deep sea creatures. It may not come as a surprise after reading this that I have Asperger Syndrome.
SB: I don’t think that it was really a choice – it seemed natural for my artwork to center upon something so significant in my life. Making work about my gender is very therapeutic for me. It lets me get out all the stresses of living in a body that doesn’t feel like my own. And also, it means I can hopefully educate others about people like me, against whom there is still a lot of prejudice. Sex is something that we all experience, so it is something that everybody can relate to in some way.
KD: Where do you get your inspiration?
SB:My inspiration comes from everything around me. Random images from the internet, new
stationary, lines from books, funny shaped leaves, television adverts, labels from clothes, children’s toys, song lyrics, going to exhibitions, gawping out of the window, packaging, smells, tastes, textures, so many things! The world in general is a very inspirational place.
KD: What’s the hardest thing about being an artist?
SB: The days where all your creativity seems to have disappeared and you feel like it’ll never come back. That, and the worry that I’ll never make enough money to live!
KD: Who inspires you as an artist?
SB: My favourite artists are Egon Schiele and Yayoi Kusama, I take a lot of inspiration from both. Also, when I read the books of Neil Gaiman (Neverwhere, The Eternals, American Gods) and Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell (The Edge Chronicles), I get a massive urge to get into the studio!
KD: What is the best thing about being an artist?
SB: Being able to do whatever I want and it counting as work! I love that I am allowed to create literally anything, and discover new ways of doing things that I hadn’t thought of before. I like being able to express what I feel inside in ways that I couldn’t using just words.
KD: What are you working on now?
SB: I’m currently developing an idea which will involve a book and possibly a film. I don’t want to say too much yet, but hopefully it will be a success! I’m also making a couple of condom packet pillows, which I’m enjoying greatly.
KD: Future plans?
SB: I want to continue exploring the subjects of gender and sexuality and how they impact upon my life. Further on into the future, my ambition is to return to my love of street culture and open a shop that sells t shirts, designer toys and accessories that I make myself, along with pieces from other artists. Hopefully as well as the shop I’ll be able to exhibit my work in galleries… That’s the long term plan anyway!
Thank you, Shay, for sharing a little of yourself and your work with us, and very best of luck in all that you do!
Where you can find Shay: