january marked trace.'s inaugural exhibition, self-gratification, at dynamite gallery in brighton. brighton is home for many of trace.'s artists, so it seemed like the natural place to launch our collective and showcase for the first time together. one of the things we love most about brighton is the genuine sense of community, and we were so happy that henry gomez, the owner of dynamite, was enthusiastic about helping us put on the show from the moment we approached him. we figured it would far more difficult to find a venue comfortable with showing art themed around queer hedonism, but henry was a champ about it.
we were working on a shoe-string budget, entirely at the personal cost of the artists, so we knew that we needed to put on an opening night event to raise funds for the exhibition. we were extremely fortunate to have the help of ray ribeiro, who was able to provide us wine for the night and gave a significant amount of his time and support, helping with the installation and take down of the show, as well as working the entire night serving drinks and working the door. in short, were it not for him this event would not have been able to happen.
justin hunt (aka dr. sharon husbands) and alexander karotsch (aka the duchess of pork), the founders and faces of the much-adored literary salon naked boys reading were keen on putting on a show for us. we cannot thank them enough for their generosity and helpfulness in putting on this joint show; without them our opening night would not have been half as successful as it was.
four strapping boys agreed to read for the night from texts centred around the same theme of self-gratification. excerpts from ulysses, chopin's the awakening, and, of course, the very hungry caterpillar were among the texts read by our lads. dr. shaz was on top form on the night, pacifying and entertaining the huge crowd (we reckon over 75 people turned up for the opening) that had been corralled into the basement of the gallery.
we were absolutely floored by the turnout, which, along with some grant funding, helped pay for the exhibition. the reception the show received was extremely positive, and we were so thrilled to hear numerous attendees state that it filled a definite lack of queer art in their lives. the community's enthusiasm for the exhibition has spurred us on to take trace. even further.
(photos by gareth bevan photography.)