#portraitoftheartist is a feature in which artists discuss their work, their careers and their inspirations.
Someone recently cracked a joke, calling me ‘Trandy Warhol’. I didn’t mind it. I’ve always felt a strong connection to Andy Warhol, an outsider, entering the world of ‘art’ from the perspective of a graphic artist, creating pop art screen-prints en masse and film portraits as well. Andy, with his mop of blonde hair (a wig?) was somehow shy and secretive, yet in the same breath, was all ‘look at me, look at me.’ I can most definitely relate to being both a hermit and a show-off in equal measures.
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At the age 17 I bought my first car from a scrapyard for £200, a feisty red Ford Fiesta XR2. I wore a baseball cap and drove like a wide-boy. I was Ralph Tiger, race car driver. Pre-medical transition, during my shady 20’s (my lost years) when I was drag-kinging and having panic attacks, I wrote a graphic novel called The Emporium, which featured a guy called Ralph Tiger who is forced to put on a bunny suit, so he is recognised by his boss, a 9 armed octopus. I wasn’t ready to transition yet, as I carried so much shame around it. Instead, I lived through my creative endeavours. When I finally swallowed my shame, and began steps towards my medical transition, I immediately changed my name to Ralph Francis Fox Fisher, combining my nickname, my Grandad’s name, my drag king name and my family name.
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Non-binary trans activist, CN Lester recently put on an event at the Tate Modern, after hours. I was lucky enough to speak and do a screen printing demo at the event, in front of a Dali painting, which was very surreal. In my live art, I explored what ‘queering’ means, as a trans/queer artist, and whether everything I touch becomes an extension of that by screen printing unicorns onto human flesh. I printed a poster asking ‘Is my soul gendered?’ and answers ‘The soul has no gender’.
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I was outraged by Roseanne Barr’s comments about trans women not being welcome in female toilets, and turned to the powers of printmaking to produce en masse, images of trans people onto paper. I then pasted these prints onto the walls of many public toilets and called the project ‘trans toilet tour’.
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Film-work in recent years has been a rapid process of expansion and learning. I’ve enjoyed using the medium to tell my own stories and the stories of others through: My Genderation and My Trans Story. Not to mention being involved in the more creative side of things, fiction including comedy and music videos.
I worked behind the scenes on Will Young’s latest music film.
As a trans activist, it’s my hope that there’ll be less call for trans awareness in the future, and I’ll have more time for creative endeavours in film and in print-making. This year I had a few solo shows. The last solo show I had was at the very start of my medical transition, when I was being filmed for My Transsexual Summer, so it’s been a cathartic process, re-printing over old work and making new editions.
A selection of my screen prints, which are available to buy at: www.salutehq.bigcartel.com.
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This year, Sarah Savage (who was also on My Trans Summer Documentary) and I created a introductory kid’s book on gender. We worked together on the character development and what should happen for Tiny in this book. We don’t reveal whether Tiny is a girl or a boy. So despite the book’s binary title, ‘Are you a boy or are you a girl?’, it’s a very open and fluid book, leaving the reader to decide for themselves, whether they know Tiny’s gender, or whether that even matters to them. I wanted to create something bright and bold, so screen printed the covers and used pencil drawings and water colour for the pages.
You can purchase ‘Are you a boy or a girl?’: here.
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Exciting times indeed for art, illustration, design, film and activism.
Fox Fisher is a writer, illustrator, artist, filmmaker and activist.
‘Turning Shit into Gold’ is a part of Season V of PTL which is run in association with: All About Trans.
We encourage all of our readers to donate to this season’s organisation: Gendered Intelligence.
If you’re interested in getting involved with PTL – drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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