Smugglerius Grimshaw

Smugglerius Grimshaw BA (Hons) Fine Art 2020

I used to be a sex worker, I used to have sex with men for money. My clients were seldom my own age, mostly older men. As someone who was a victim of online grooming at the hands of older men, I suppose it’s a way of reclaiming my power and asserting it under my own terms. What do I want to say with my art? I want to present myself as everything I am: an ex sex worker and a queer man trying to embrace his femininity.

I like to describe my work using the Greek term simulacrum (a copy of a copy of an ideal form). Starting as master paintings, interpreted again and again through different medium. This over processing transcends the themes of the original, pushing it deeper into the absurd with each iteration.

My practice is not limited to one medium. The bricolage practise of using tools that are immediately available allows me to intuitively play with my environment, sculpting a new world where I am queen, yet with objects from the ‘real’ one. My practice has come to fruition as I synthesize, layer, amalgamate developmental pieces into my autonomous bastard children born out of my womb of discontent. As post-expressionism is a direct reaction to expressionism, and postmodernism is a reaction to modernism, my work is reactionary. I grew up in a near suffocating environment of strict social norms- this is a reaction to all that pomp and circumstance, and the gleeful times I’ve spent divorcing myself from such an insipid world. They told me to suppress my femininity, sexuality, to pretend the abuse didn’t happen, say you were never a sex worker, paint some pretty pictures, and forget about it. This is me breaking that stranglehold, gasping for air, and standing proud.

Leonard James Little Prize Winner