The gay male body is often scrutinised and assessed by mainstream gay communities to an impossible standard. This work speaks of the marginalised, larger, more heavyset (and often of colour) bodies, giving focus to the bear subculture. The work is eager to facilitate a space in which the larger male body is reframed as desirable and dynamic. The illustrated collage portrays these bear bodies in a form of a mandala. An online panorama (360 AR) piece has also been created to accompany the printed piece to move the work beyond the physical through a QR code that is embedded within the artwork. The integration of AR is a means of bridging the two concepts of seeing and participating – thus creating different and meaningful ways in understanding the artwork.
Media Design School
Although Don developed a penchant for illustration at a tender age, it was only when he moved to New Zealand in 1996 from Malaysia that he began to find himself through homoerotic art – paying focus to the gay bear subculture. After being in the design industry for over 15 years, Don moved to being an educator at tertiary level. Having gained his Master’s degree in Art & Design at the age of 44 in 2017, Don sees himself as a budding academic. His research domain is within illustrative storytelling, belonging, gay bear and immigrant identity.