Spoiler alert…there isn’t an actual glitter cannon involved in my 2022 tour (ikr?!). Although, those who know me best know that I usually carry a satchel of the sparkly awesomeness for emergencies. But as a glitter cannon spreads fabulous around, my goal for 2022 is to spread my art, my message, my color palette, lots of love and of course, the gay agenda, to as many people as possible.
The gay agenda
There are a fair amount of people who know my full body of work who say they don’t really see my art as gay…it’s not specifically gay art as they see it. While it is true that not all of my subject matter from the past 22 years is stereotypically gay, it’s also true that it was painted by a gay person, with a gay brain and gay hands. All of it created from a gay perspective with the passion of a gay soul. I’ve spent the last 22 years trying to bring my artwork out of the closet in a way that felt real to me, and in the past handful of years, all of my work contains inspiration from queer folks, even if it doesn’t look like it at a glance. And that’s part of the point. As everyone is at a different stage of “outness”, it is important to me that I have a spectrum of visuals from subtle to outrageously, fabulously queer. My plan for the glitter cannon tour is to keep the range, and keep pushing the envelope on the ofq end of the spectrum. I can hear the pearls being clutched already.
Being visible for the LGBTQ and allied community is not new for me, but it is definitely agenda item #1 for the 2022 Glitter Cannon tour of the U.S.
Leaving home, finding community
It’s been a gradual progression. Over the past few years, I’ve been cutting back on showing in my home area and popping up in other regional locations. This year I’ll be headed much further out, to as many as 8 states to get my art in front of new audiences and hopefully leave my mark (as only glitter can do!) and come home with new inspiration from you (all the “you’s” I’ve met and will meet this year!) for 2022 and beyond. The give and take between you and I is essential for my work, as I’m not 16 anymore…no longer creating work that is just about me, and random things that I like. The picture is much bigger, the stories more varied, the LGBTQ community is so much deeper and more diverse than many think.
And this is why I was so torn on the decision not to show in my home area in 2022 (except for my holiday home show of course!). I really have met so many amazing folks on the streets of the western suburbs of Chicago (I mean, I live here), particularly the young folks…some who have literally inspired pieces of art that I’m currently working on (canvases primed!). It’s an interesting phenomenon, however, when you can meet some of the most amazing people, and run into ignorance at the same time…like, literally at the same time. Having multiple nearby artists and patrons come up to me throughout the weekend to report derogatory comments made behind my booth isn’t really a great feeling…though I appreciate their support. I’m not really complaining about the comments themselves—people deal with much worse, but the whole ignorant vibe is kinda sad being in my home area and all.
I'm just not queer for it.
What bodes well for 2022 is that everywhere I go I meet more LGBTQ folks and allies, hearing your stories and gathering inspiration for new pieces. Community connection with new folks, and maintaining connections with those of you I already know and love is most definitely an agenda item on the Glitter Cannon tour.
Your art will be worth more when you’re dead
Keith Haring has become all the rage in the past several years…everyone seems to have his art on their clothes, wearing it proudly. Half of me is ok with this, because what’s wrong with just liking the happy little stick figure art on a t-shirt regardless of its intended meaning? The other half of me laughs because most of these people probably have no idea of the meaning behind his art, or who Keith Haring even was.
People tell me all the time that my art will be worth more, or that I’ll be famous when, I’m dead. Thanks for the news flash. But speaking of Keith Haring, while many of us know and love his work for what it and he stand for, many have never even heard his name, and with him having passed away in 1989, all of this is out of his control. I can't control fate, but there’s something to be said for having the ability to control my message and where and how my art is exhibited, even if I’m not yet famous, or wealthy.
Being present. Clearly this is an important part of the Glitter Cannon tour at this point. While I mostly let my work speak for itself and let the viewer see what they see in it, I will also be there in case you want to chat!
Queens, teens, and bears, oh my!
A woman and her friend entered my booth and she proceeded to use my art to educate her friend on the meanings of different pride flags (love this!). She then saw one of my bear claw paintings and made her best attempt at a pc explanation of what a bear is…after she stumbled over her words for a few second I stepped in...”a bear is a large, hairy man” I stated with a slight grin (I think it was slight). She thanked me as she exhaled in relief. I giggled inside (I think it was inside). I loved this whole interaction. Good allies are so very valuable in the community.
The very next week, a real live bear walked in my booth and bought that piece.
A set of parents walked into my booth with their kiddo. After some discussion of which bee they wanted (I was about to introduce them as my “Gaybees”, but bit my tongue) kiddo pointed to the one with the bisexual color scheme. Using generic language, I chatted while taking the bee off the wall to wrap it up. Noticing there was no title on the bee, Dad looked me dead in the eyes and said, “You should title it ‘Bi Bee’.” Oh good, you know! I thought to myself. I proceeded to say 6 or 7 gay things and sent them on their way.
A college student came into my booth by themself and bought 2 prints. One was “for when my parents visit” and the other was “just for me”.
A school field trip brought a slew of queer youth to my booth. Their outness made me happy and their dollars made up the majority of my sales that day. I particularly love seeing them talk about their identities through my art. I’m finding more and more need for non-binary and trans related art. A supportive teacher came by the next day for some art…apparently the youth had been talking about my booth!
Lots of fabulous queens (drag and otherwise) stopped in my booth in 2021…all the heels and big hair have me thinking about my booth height!
Letting people be themselves, express themselves, label themselves, and interacting as needed…that remains on the agenda for this year. Also, having FUN. Life is full of enough garbage…fun is on the agenda for Glitter Cannon 2022.
These are a few of the “clean” anecdotes from 2021. Maybe I’ll write a book for the not-so-clean ones at some point. Will discuss this with my agent, Champagne Toast.
What’s the gist?
So that’s a lot of words to say that I’m so excited to be spraying my vibe all over the country like a gay man with glitter (too literal?). I hope to see your happy clappy faces somewhere along the way! Even if you’re miserable…will be nice to see you. I already have some new pieces to show off and I’m working on many new paintings in a range of themes including music and musical theater inspired pieces, Chicago art, quirky statement pieces, my queer “what if” take on the 1950’s, and so much more! Follow my Insta @thaddeus_art for progress images of these pieces!
Shows in IL, FL, VA, and MN are booked, and I’m waiting on jury results for the remaining 4 states. Check the calendar on my “connect page” for more details!
See you soon!
As an acrylic painter, I use my soft bristle brushes to tell a story of love and pride in vivid, contrasting colors and strong whimsical line work. I portray a love for life and the magnificent creations this world has to offer, and love of the diverse array of people that occupy our spaces and the relationships they enter into. In my work I celebrate pride in the communities we come from and live in, and pride in ourselves, embracing who we are in bold fashion.