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Artist Mike Bliss will be presenting his art work at GFEST – Gaywise FESTival 2010 Visual Arts Exhibition @ Hampstead Town Hall / InterChange Studios, The Atrium, Hampstead Town Hall, 213 Haverstock Hill, London NW3 4QP. (Entrance from footpath on Haverstock Hill) / Tel: 020 7692 5800 / Wise Thoughts: 0208 8899555 Mon 8 to Friday 19 Nov (Sat, Sun closed) 10.30AM to 5.30PM / Entry Free

More info on: http://www.gaywisefestival.org.uk/artsexhibition.php

Q & A with Mike:

What are doing right now?

I’m putting the finishing touches to a graphic novel I’ve created.  It’s the hardest I’ve ever worked!  I’ve loved the challenge but happy it’s almost over and nearly ready to send to my publisher!

How do you describe your art or artwork?

My work is different depending on my mood.  If I’m in a dark mood I tend to work in black and white because at that moment that’s how I see the world.  If I’m in a good mood or happy then the work is colourful and bright.  My work is a slave to my mood!

How relevant is your work or practice today to be a part of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) or queer art scene?

I shine a light on the LGBT community’s preoccupation with beauty!  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a guilty as anyone.  I try to explore my own duality with beauty.  I have a love hate relationship with perfection!  I’m trying to explore sex and love and how I’ve confused the two on many occasions

Tell us about the process behind the art works:

My process is different depending on if it’s a commission or not.  If I’m painting just because I’m inspired then it’s usually sparked by either a word, music, film, a conversation I’ve had or something I’ve seen on the news.  A commission is usually based on the buyer’s ideas and needs.  I then produce an A4 drawing and use the computer to add colour (I scan the paint into the computer) to the sketch.  If it works on the computer then I go straight to canvas.  If  I can draw something I find it very easy to recreate it into canvas.  I guess that just comes from practice.  I never trained as an artist so my process has just developed out of necessity

I think that it’s important for “gay” artists to group together and show the art sector that our work is relevant and not something that should be viewed as a dirty little secret.

Do you see yourself as ‘gay or queer artist’?

This is always a tricky question.  I doubt a heterosexual artist is ever asked this question!  I would have to say yes!  I am a gay artist and my subjects are gay men usually engaging in homosexual activities.  It’s not a label I have given myself, it’s one that makes the world comfortable with me and my work.  In the end I doubt it’s very important.  If it’s a label about who I share my bed with then it’s a ridiculous waste of time!

Thank you Mike for your answers.

Now in its fourth year, GFEST is supported by the Mayor of London, dignitaries, Ministers and MPs from all the leading parties, various London boroughs and Arts Council England.
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GFEST 2010  images on  http://www.flickr.com/photos/GFEST

GFEST 2010 Visual Art :  http://www.flickr.com/photos/gfest/sets/72157624870998137/

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LONDON: GAY ART FESTIVAL : GFEST 2010 showreel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwJ9UWJX1fg

More info on GFEST – Gaywise FESTival (GFEST in short) web: http://www.gaywisefestival.org.uk

GFEST Artistic Director: Niranjan Kamatkar

WISE THOUGHTS is an arts charity that organises GFEST – Gaywise FESTival  in venues across London.
GFEST web networks: http://www.wisethoughts.org http://www.gaywisefestival.org.uk http://www.facebook.com/niranjan.kamatkar http://www.gaywisefestival.blogspot.com/ http://twitter.com/gfest https://gaywisefestival.wordpress.com/ http://www.yoursemotionally.com/ http://www.myspace.com/interviewwithapolitician http://www.flickr.com/photos/gfest/ http://www.youtube.com/user/wisethoughts http://uk.linkedin.com/in/niranjankamatkar http://www.myspace.com/gaywisefestival
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