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    Tags: homotopia, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Steve Strange, David Bowie, Camp and Furnace, sarah o'hara

    This Way Out: Boy George & TradeMark

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    Renowned club artist TradeMark brings his collaborative exhibition with Boy George to Camp & Furnace this month as part of Homotopia Festival. Sarah O’ Hara spoke to TradeMark to discover the inspiration behind it and hear his recollections of the Blitz club...

    ‘This Way Out’ is a collaborative exhibition by Boy George and yourself, taking part at Homotopia - could you tell us more about it?
    George and I have known each other since 1978 when we met at a club called The Blitz. After I left Art School in Wallasey, I headed down to London and gravitated towards that scene. I was blown away by the way people there looked, and people like George looked amazing! He was the first real live person I did a painting of and we’ve been friends since then. We’ve worked together over the years on various projects, record covers and such, but this exhibition explores invented identities, constructed identities of imaginary characters and people who have created an alternative identity. It  sort of follows on from the Bowie influence. George has been taking photos for a few years now and we share a similar aesthetic sense, so we work together very well.

    Speaking of creating identities, was this inspired by clubs like The Blitz?
    Well people at The Blitz, who were labelled ‘new romantics’ even though we hated the label, took the lead and called themselves whatever they wanted and looked however they wanted. I’ve always based my art around all these amazing people with exaggerated personas and identities.

    Some of the amazing people painted and photographed for this event include Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and Steve Strange. Did you get to know Steve through George and The Blitz club?
    I’ve known Steve since the Blitz days as well, and in fact he was the second person in 1978 after George that I painted. I did some record covers for him and Visage too. It’s almost like a mixture in the exhibition of looking back at those days, but there’s also a contemporary twist. George has been photographing people like Steve as they are now, so it’s spanning an entire time period in the exhibition.

    As an artist, what was the appeal of participating in Homotopia?
    I’ve participated at Homotopia since the beginning really. I first exhibited at the festival and designed posters for them. I loved the idea of Homotopia because when I was growing up it seemed unimaginable that you would have a gay arts festival as society was very different back then, but I love the progress that is being made now.

    After Homotopia what are your plans for the future?
    I’m carrying on with my painting and I’m hoping to exhibit in London and the States. Tying in with what we’re doing in this exhibition, I’m hoping to write a book - not an autobiographical one, but more of an anecdotal piece featuring the club scenes. If this show goes well at Homotopia we may do an expanded version in 2015. One of the things that inspired us was the Glam exhibition at TATE Liverpool earlier in the year, which was brilliant. We don’t have a lot of articles on display in our exhibition, mainly photographs and paintings, but if we were to expand the exhibition we may include some of George’s costumes.

    ‘This Way Out: Boy George & TradeMark’ is at Camp and Furnace from Thursday 31st October - Monday 25th November. Opening times are 11am - 5pm and admission is free.

    To find out more please visit: www.homotopia.net

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      Sarah's posts By Sarah O' Hara
      @TheLowdownMag


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