The meaning and impact of the print deepens further when you consider the subversion of history that the artist conceived. He utilised a historical style of art that was outlawed for its subversive nature and adapted it into a modern, queer work. Shunga, or Japanese erotic woodcarving, is a traditional style that survived in Japanese culture for hundreds of years despite ruling powers attempting to ban it and destroy any prints in existence. They believed the erotic to be a corrupting force on those they ruled over. The general populace had almost the opposite view of the erotic art. The common people believed the art to be an omen of good luck, even for a time hiding prints in the armour of soldiers when they went into battle. All attempts to rid society of the erotic art failed, as historical records attest.
Discussion of the homoerotic print with the artist and the research he undertook to create it fuelled my curiosity. I wanted to discover more about creative works that he been banned or censored. As a queer English-speaking author I focussed on British literature. I started back with one of my favourite books, Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Banned for its lewd content and only released in full after many revisions, Lady Chatterley’s Lover is a prime example of written work that was outlawed but continued to thrive and be republished. It also informed the base for the model chosen to write Homebody. The dysfunctional marriage and the goal for a family that is ultimately unachievable create fertile territory for the narrative arc.
The exploration of language and the body presented in Lady Chatterley’s Lover added to the desire to explore the individual self-discovery of one character in a new world. It was from here I created a world based upon ways of life that have were rendered illegal or unsanctioned by the traditional social mores of our own reality. In Aaron’s world homosexuality is the norm, having children outside of the help (and confines) of a fertility clinic, donor or surrogate is frowned upon if not outright illegal, and heterosexuality is a minority underclass. Outside of these key changes the world remained close to our world. People still desire marriage. Older generations maintain stronger connections to married life and the family unit. Executives strive for more profits and promotions. Sexuality is still unexplored territory for Aaron. His mind and body remain in a sheltered world. He only knows experiences of marriage and intimacy with the one person.
From this stable but isolated and inexperienced position, Aaron tests the bounds of his cultural sphere and introduces himself to a new and delightfully twisted realm of society
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