Joelle Circe About
I was born in Montreal, Canada where I learned how to draw and paint as a professional in the early eighties. I took a few years away from my art to explore various facets of life and also because I was dealing with having surgeries to correct a physiological condition called transsexuality and as in everything that is true and right and meant to be, I came back to my passion more complete and filled with a sense of purpose like never before. My paintings have been sold to many over the years, be that through art shows or through commissioned pieces for private clients. Today, my art is filled with the wonder of my woman's voice and views. My favorite mediums are oils, soft pastels and charcoal.
My awareness of female bodies and love of them is a struggle/play between my aesthetic and political senses and values, I speaks to both, sometimes within the same painting. I feel that I impart a certain organic, feminine cognitive aspect of myself in my art, that it can be understood and felt, all depending on the topic and/or subject of a given piece. My aesthetic sense is very much my own, female but born of a life in the wrong body and subjected to years of seeing through the world of the opposite gender. My awareness speaks to survival, to female eroticism and to the extraordinary queerness of life. My work also delves on pain and othering at times, of being on the outside looking in. Being a woman of transsexual experience has permitted me to better understand oppression and prejudice but also to better appreciate womanhood and the sheer wonder of being a woman. I am conscious of being different, of my sexual identity, my gender and my orientation and I hope to, through my art, walk my talk, to put on canvas, my truths.
My artwork looks at the female body with a sense of awe before its all enveloping beauty. Erotic depictions are one of my pleasures. I create art that speaks to social, political, cultural and sexist ways women and all females are perceived. The narrative in many of my drawings and paintings have to do with the beauty and strength of women as in my series of Vagina pieces which were inspired by Eve Ensler's play " The Vagina Monologues", I had been involved in one way or another with this play for a few years and knew I had to put it out there, speak on the subject matter in spite of the danger of criticism from various sides. I just felt they deserved respect, honor and to be celebrated because each had her own story.
One can view familiar views of the nude in my art and yet, oftentimes, a twist here and another there, changes the narrative, renders the scene strange to the feel, disturbing and challenging. Being of transsexual origin and a queer woman gives me a unique slant of what it means to be a woman and transgressive. If anything, my art is a reflection of my path in life. My sense of what it means to be a woman and a female differs from others, my take on eroticism and how I represent human emotions and experiences are also quite personal even if similar in many ways to others.
I enjoy doing purely erotic paintings, and it is very present in my body of work, from fetish and BDSM scenes to more demure, serene and soft renditions of women's bodies and their lives. Sometimes, I get the urge to create darker pieces that usually involve vampires, which is my way of speaking to our wilder, animalistic and yes, queer sexualities. Of course, my art is a reflection of who I am, my wants and desires, my fears and understandings about life, about femininity, sexuality and of being queer. I have had to fight to simply be me in a world dominated by a misogynistic attitude towards women, one in which my art kept me afloat in a sea of prejudice, hate and sexism. My life experiences have informed and guided me, given me a passion for all things female, I happily acknowledge being influenced by all the great women artists of the past and present, by my sister, mother and by friends.
I draw and paint in a figurative style, my art is somewhat of a throwback to the days of Academy as far as knowing how to draw and paint. I have taken the tools of the patriarchal schools of fine-art and molded them to celebrating women and queer lives and people which is where my production is now moving into. Of late, I have begun work on a new series celebrating queer lives, and so far I have had the opportunity and pleasure of working with queer models such as a Drag Queen, a Drag King, a Kiki lesbian and I___'__________________________________m lining up many many more queer people for what promises to be a major body of work in the near future. Of course, women's issues and lives are foremost in my mind and in my heart and I will continue creating pieces that acknowledge and celebrate women until the end.
November 2011 to end of March 2012: Duo show at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in Soho, New York. The Museum has since acquired one of my paintings called " Damned " for its permanent collection.