A Cardinal Sin

Cardinal Power 
I wondered why I enjoyed Drag so much but then I realized I have been around men in dresses most of my life -clerics of all sorts -fat Maltese curates saintly Irish Parish Priests as well as drunk ones, frightening Christian Brothers in their Black habits  -and as an altar boy I got to wear a black soutane with a white surplus . I always envied my cousins who were in the Bendigo diocese and got to wear bright purple under the white.

 Here are two prelates -Archbishop Daniel Mannix of Melbourne and his nemesis Cardinal Moran of Sydney  - that set the context for Australian Catholicism.

Like half of Australia I have been flowing the unfolding nightmare that is the abuse by Catholic Priests brothers and  Nuns of children . I followed 2 hours of Cardinal Pell's testimony when he was summonsed by the Victorian Parliamentary  Committee of Inquiry
- and then there is the ideological oppression I feel as a gay man from the Catholic Church that sees my kind  as  disordered individuals despite relying for centuries on gay men as their main image makers.

Pope, Cardinal, Bishop- This subject is a favourite  -its the coloured robes and the combination of spiritual and temporal power that makes the subjects so interesting
Here is El Greco's Cardinal in the NGV and Velasquez's shimmering Pope Innocent

and a more psychological study by Francis Bacon 

Cardinal Boots
Here is my first image responding to all of the above. It can be found at 
Infant of prague 
The pose comes from the Infant of Prague. 

My friend Ron has posed for these pictures in a leather and silk stole I had made recently as well as an old Carnaby Street  leather coat with silk lining turned inside out for the shoot  
All these images have many layers that I have collected over the last 2 years - I have chosen a picture of Winter Fungus for the Cardinal Boots image to reference the parasitical corruption of many clerics on the Bride of Christ AKA the Church

Cardinal Grimm

Cardinal Tin
Cardinal Dislaced 

Cardinal Stone 
Cardinal Book of Dried Bones 

I'm going to give the last word to a modern translation of the Sufi poet Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky 
My general advice is : Anyone wearing spiritual robes is potentially lethal: best to consider they already have two strikes against them .... and if they make just one false move-best to run or hit them with your bat!

Update no 1

 I am experimenting with text on the image such as Matthew 18.6

But whoever shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. 

Not sure to use just the reference or maybe a selection of the text? 

Matthew 23.27

Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you are like to whited sepulchres, which outwardly appear to men beautiful, but within are full of dead men's bones, and of all filthiness.

Matthew  20:26-27
26 Among you this is not to happen. No; anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant,
27 and anyone who wants to be first among you must be your slave,

update 2 on  9th July 

A fellow artist on deviant art    QUINT mCkOWN

said recently 

"I believe that art, like religion, should comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable" 

Is art our  salvation when religion turns poisonous ?

 are the arts the only way we can salvage a meaningful belief system from the ruins of the great Theistic religions we have inherited ? 

The great Sufi poet Hafiz wrote:
Great religions are the
Poets the life
Every sane person I know has jumped

update 24th July 2013

I see the church as a stern and abusive father - it has provided me with an education, a rich history to draw on but many many of my family and fiends have been sexually and physically abused and as a father the church has failed that most basic of a father's tests - to give love and self esteem to all his children including gay ones 
I also see a need to  tell the real story of the church that includes many fine and noble examples of the love between men of the cloth. Here is an extract from a biography of a saint who was Bishop of Merz in France
About the year 626 he obtained the appointment of a successor to the Episcopal See of Metz; he himself and his friend Romaricus withdrew to a solitary place in the mountains of the Vosges. There he lived in communion with God until his death. His remains, interred by Romaricus, were transferred about a year afterwards, by Bishop Goeric, to the basilica of the Holy Apostles in Metz.

what are the chances Romaricus was his lover and life companion ?

What will it take to finally break the pattern of clericalism , homophobia , the oppression of women and fear of modernism that keeps abuse happening?

 stay tuned I'm thinking of some comic approaches to my art to keep the debate going !

Combining Image and Text

I am  an aspiring writer having completed seven chapters of a gay romance set in country Australia in the 50s
I am posing models to represent various scenes in the novel in an effort to enrich my powers of observation and description and get inside the skin of the main characters

Here are a few images with corresponding text

The subject is in his late 40's thin with a handsome face and a ....  The first pic has him in his white singlet and Y-fronts.- he is looking out of the window and down on to the street , the light catches the contours of his arse which looks larger and more fulsome in his white briefs . His singlet has a series of lines where he has twisted around to get a better view. He has more weight on the front foot

he has one foot up on the windowsill and is leaning forward with his arms folded and resting on his knees...The afternoon sun falls on his forehead , his upper arms and the front of his white underwear emphasizing his manly bulge.. he has a far sighted look on his face as he looks out through the window over the roof tops. He conveys a sense of acceptance, peace and resolution but there is also a sense of waiting for something ineffable

he has moved slightly and you can make out the detail on his body, although only the outline of his face is visible due to the brightness of the light .. his hand is inside his y-fronts and he is holding himself by the right hand and the left hand is on his hips

He is turning back to look at me. His white underwear is down far enough under the curve of his arse to readily highlight its shape- his buttocks are both curved and lean conveying a sense of power as well as vulnerability. The sunshine falls on the window side of each buttock, on his back and especially on his right shoulder as he twists back to look over his left shoulder.
His face is looking directly at me-why do you want me like this -while at the same time betraying the pleasure and pride he feels by posing in such a way .His left hand is on his hip - that space between the thumb and forefinger is beautifully caught in a triangle of light . The twist outlines his firm left breast and you can see his nipple at the most beautiful point possible on his chest

In the final scene he has moved to a stool a little way from the window's edge. The late sun dissects his chest at the nipple line , his face is searching , he is aroused but he wonders how this arousal will end.. His hands are on his naked thighs, his legs are open-a second band of light crosses his Y-fronts and reveals he is fully ready for any encounter. It throws a diagonal shadow over his briefs from their base right up and beyond the waste line. In the background the Japanese screen and the steel rungs of the stool he sits on provide a pleasing contrast to the organic shape of his so-lively body