The Challenges of Navigating the Gay Community as a Disabled Man (Timothy Dean Lee In Conversation with Balaclava.Q).

In January of this year I began an email conversation with Hawaii based artist Timothy Dean Lee. We made short exchanges over the coming months whereby Lee generously introduced me to his work.  Intimate and always deeply honest Lee presents selected works that span is Sumi Ink Drawing and Living In A Fishbowl series along with selected video-works where Lee explores what it means to be a disabled gay male artist.  The conversation went a little like this… 

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ICARUS from the SUMI INK SERIES by Timothy Dean Lee

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“I made these pieces several years back and have always wanted to show them publicly.  I was told that they were too erotic for some of the galleries in Chelsea. (Lmao).  Oddly, I guess some may consider them rather S&Mish.  However, being a gay artist who has been dealing with disabilities and their side effects my whole life I was trying to give people a peek into my everyday existence.  Being affected by Cerebral Palsy since I was 9 months old when I placed my head between the spindles of my baby crib (my father had to saw the spindles in order to free my swollen head).  The following morning I was rushed to the hospital with my first Grand Mal seizure.  I have had seizures most of my life and 20 years ago was diagnosed with Sleep Apnea.  My ex who was a photographer in fashion took photos of me as I slept with the C-pap.

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From the SUMI INK SERIES by Timothy Dean Lee

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From the SUMI INK SERIES by Timothy Dean Lee

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The self portrait of me with the gold fish is entitled; Living in a Fishbowl. Something that I’ve felt through-out my life being gay and disabled.

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LIVING IN A FISHBOWL from the SUMI INK SERIES by Timothy Dean Lee

I was always watched and judged.
Last year, I had a Hydrocele (pre-cancer) where my left testicle retained fluids, eventually becoming the size of a grapefruit and having to be removed. I photographed my sac and the drainage hose that hung from it for six weeks as they drained the remaining fluids. I will be using that photo, as well as the photos of my most recent obstructed bowel surgery as the sources for new pieces.

 

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Of course, I’m wanting to teach with my pieces. How as a gay man, who is disabled has challenges in his life that brings up judgement issues not only in the society in general, but also within the gay community.  You see, I can’t lift weights because my stomach muscles are thin and weak do to the Cerebral Palsy, so I have been placed in the category of Bears. Usually admired by chasers or people who actually have fetishes for the disabled ( not exactly my cup of tea). ”

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LIVING IN A FISHBOWL from the SUMI INK SERIES by Timothy Dean Lee
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From the SUMI INK SERIES by Timothy Dean Lee
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LIVING IN A FISHBOWL from the SUMI INK SERIES by Timothy Dean Lee

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By Timothy Dean Lee
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By Timothy Dean Lee
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By Timothy Dean Lee
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By Timothy Dean Lee
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By Timothy Dean Lee
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By Timothy Dean Lee
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By Timothy Dean Lee

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To view Lee’s video works please see below:

Sequence 1 (2013) – To view the film CLICK HERE.

Movement of Music (2013) – To view the film CLICK HERE.

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You can also explore Lee’s works on the artist’s website and on Instagram.

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To view more queer contemporary art visit www.balaclavadotq.net.

UN__TITLED (3)

 

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