Unedited conversations between artist in a productive critique  discovering  thesis and processes behind the work.








Conversation between Austin Brady and Olivia Ramos.


From the series "Clown Tristes"

RAMOS:  ‪hi Austin,‬‬


thank you for joining me


BRADY:  ‪Hi‬‬


Glad to be here


‪are you currently in Detroit?‬‬


‪I am currently in South Bend Indiana for my Masters, but do most of my business in Detroit ‬‬


‪tell me a little about your work, I am looking at this piece that has a dystopia feel with the snake and the man with a tail and a few naked women‬‬





the black and white one or the color one?‬‬


‪it is black and white with a dab of light green paint on it‬‬


Ah, yea‬‬


‪so with my work, I am interested in negotiating the boundaries around identity, gender, and class‬‬


‪i was really interested in how I could be involved with the conversation around LGBTQ+ struggles, civil rights issues, all that stuff‬‬


but being a straight white cis-gendered guy, those groups don't need another guy like me telling them what they need through art hahaha


so I wanted to turn the lens to myself and my own identity politics


‪I think i understand ... I mean‬‬


your portraits have sense of lost identity or hybrid identity


this can be both for LGBTQ as well as straight white guys


in your opinion, what is the biggest difference between the two?


yeah, I want to really examine middle class white guy politics through the lens of feminist, materialist, and queer theory. kill the patriarchy, kill all those "dads".


I think where the duality happens is in the way that I kinda love these images.


I grew up on them. But the narrative of the super muscular white dude killing everything in sight to rescue the bikini princesses is so ridiculous and problematic.


i have so much nostalgia for these images but they are so fucked up too


I think the queering of the bodies in these paintings also talks a bit about what I think you are asking‬‬


these dudes bodies are totally on display, simultaneously vulnerable and powerful in their near-nudeness‬‬


not sure if this is what you mean - but it reminds me of a book i can't remember dealing with the homo-eroticism in male supremacy‬‬


are you bending the lines of the white guy image to declare something within?


not within you.. i mean... within the image of strength and power


‪yeah, that strange play with homo-eroticism is totally in the work for me, looking at stuff like the sword and sorcery genre as a whole, in the jackass films, Kenneth Anger, all that.‬‬


I am totally into screwing with those white male working-class power structures, disrupting them while trying to figure out how our actual lived bodies make sense in it‬‬


why do you think this power structure is continued? is it fear of loosing something, or fear of being one in the same with everyone around, or is the white male truly different?‬‬


‪I don't think its something inherent, I think we are in a time of negotiating boundaries. I think that the auto-patriarchal monster has a type of immune response to these shifting boundaries.


As we move to remove social and cultural barriers, even national barriers, white maleness swells and tightens up to try to maintain the power structure, preserve its identity in some weird way.‬‬


‪i think that on the surface, there might be a fear of losing‬‬

but its just not real


yes a mentality of scarcity‬‬


there isn't enough for everyone so we must suppress others in order to have something... whatever that is


‪thats the kind of mentality that i want to break‬‬


its oppressive and terrifying


‪at the same time, I am a kinda "masculine" dude.‬‬


I have a big beard, I love working in the woodshop, I drink shitty beer and piss out campfires


‪there is a difference between masculine and supremacy‬‬






‪there is nothing wrong with being masculine or feminine for that matter - it is feeling that it makes you superior that is the problem‬‬

not sure if problem is the right word


it is unfortunate


‪i am now looking at the piece with the five baseball bats - and after this conversation i think i get it



and a weird part of it is confusion, trying to figure out where masculinity starts and oppressor begins, since they have been so tied together through history. not for me, but we have seen it with the people who cant discern the two and go over the edge ‬‬


oh yeah, the bats


they are objects of violence, of play and sport. they are bodies, both traumatized figurations and weird dick jokes‬‬


‪ha - yes i got all that‬‬


and it speaks to your last comment - where does this end/begin


in some cultures, it is simply law


divine law, that there be a distinction and unbalance in power


‪yeah, and so many guys will come up to me and misunderstand the work, thinking that masculinity is some divine law and must be striven for...‬‬


"men are in crisis" "where are the real men"


its such bullshit hahahaha


well i can see how they would not want to believe you are making fun of them‬‬


‪its that autoimmune response. power doesn't like to be challenged and thats all I want to do.


I don't even think  that I am making fun of them personally, just poking at the weakness of this castle our dads built.‬‬


‪can you tell me a bit about how you would have things be? some will say it is easy to poke holes, but what is the solution...‬‬


‪I think right now, I am trying to use what privilege I have to cut the ladder that I am standing on.... if that makes sense.


I thing the way we teach masculinity needs a lot of work. I think that my specific life experience helped me avoid growing into something toxic in order to fix this incredible hurt.


Too often that hurt manifests in school shootings, suicide, alcoholism, racism, all these terrible things...all more prevalent in men. Lets fix that. Lets point at what is really hurting, lets point at the fact that its flawed.


lets do something about it


not just from the outside, but from the inside too


‪it is hard to convince people "in power" to let go of their perks‬‬


Yeah it is, hahaha‬‬