Illustration by Rose Feduk
Hey, chickenheads. I want to tell you a story about art, censorship, and queerness.
The year is 2008 and I am a freshman at CSULB. I am 20 pounds heavier, 30 with my backpack on. I’m at our current comics editor’s house working on an extra credit assignment for my ART 116 class. The assignment is to create a shirt inspired by the Lascaux Cave Paintings. I choose a piece referred to as the “unicorn” for its obvious irony. You see, the “unicorn” is not a unicorn at all. The painting clearly shows an animal with two horns protruding from its head. I, seeing an opportunity for silliness, draw the so-called unicorn on the shirt’s front and write the word “BICURIOUS” in thick purple letters on the back. (See, the joke is this unicorn has two horns and bi-curious individuals have the capacity to be attracted to two genders. On second thought, I don’t think this qualifies as a joke).
Except I don’t write bi-curious. Instead, I sit there on Rose’s living room floor, unable to write the word. At that moment, I was an extremely closeted homosexual. I struggle to write bi-curious because I am afraid people will think I am coming out to them via shirt. Who cares that I am not bi-curious? In fact, I am so far past bi-curious on the gay spectrum, I’m rollerblading in short-shorts on rainbows made of showtunes, lisps, and the finest wigs money can buy.
Eventually, I chicken(head) out and write the word “confused” because the unicorn having two horns is kind of confusing (I don’t really remember my reasoning). I show up to class the next day in my censored shirt, ready to present it to the class. I watch as people look at the front approvingly. I then turn around and crane my neck to see their reaction. To quote the back of my shirt, they all look pretty “confused.” I sit down feeling like the world’s biggest dope and wishing I’d had the backbone to be myself: a queer person and maker of bad puns.
The subject of our feature (page 7), performance artist, proud lesbian, and all-around sweetheart, Holly Hughes, has also struggled with the ideas of art, censorship, and queerness, just on a much more meaningful scale. I had the pleasure of interviewing her about her Supreme Court case against the National Endowment for the Arts. The product of our conversation was pretty eye-opening, so give it a wide-eyed looksy. Bi the way, if you were curious, I totally came out the summer after freshman year and everybody was really supportive and not surprised at all.
UNCENSORED DOODLES: WE LET ROSE'S IMAGINATION RUN WILD
By Rose Feduk