One Street Artist Takes Aim At Homophobia With Spray Paint & Murals
Once again, street art’s potential for spreading awareness of social and political issues is being proven, this time in Copenhagen. The Danish capital is home to a vibrant arts scene, and its reputation for being the world’s most livable city has led to an influx of tourists and international residents, resulting in a wonderfully diverse, cosmopolitan city. Part of its draw for the world’s attention is the citywide presence of street art, so much in fact that there are bike tours devoted strictly to navigating Copenhagen for the best views of the murals, tags, and sculptures that litter its streets and public spaces. As can be expected, much of the art is geared towards eliciting conversations about the world’s great issues, including the hyper-localized caricatures of Danish politicians to the more universal messages of equality, love, and peace. It’s towards the latter that Copehagen artist EDES, whose unconventional and envelope-pushing aesthetics have ignited a conversation about homophobia in Scandinavia.
As an openly gay artist, EDES (an acronym for “Evil Duck Eat Sperm”) is using his outlandish sensibilities to create art that captures the attention of anybody walking by. Most of the artwork he’s painted on sundry Copenhagen walls, buildings, and public transportation depicts penises, but not just for the sake of a gasp. His goal is to bring to light the issue of homophobia, which manifests itself far too often in the harassment, assault, and sometimes death of queer men and women. As he shared with Vice, his art is meant for “Homophobes, in a word. I’m actively trying to provoke them and I’m doing it by transforming gay bashing into straight bashing, by slathering homosexuality all over, and shoving it in their faces. I also kind of wanted to piss off the rest of the street art community, particularly the ones who have a problem with gays.” However, not all of his motivations are strictly meant for his external surroundings. In fact, much of it serves as a form of “therapeutic self-help. I need an outlet after being repressed for so many years and I love the idea of random people being faced with what I’ve been creating in the darkness of the night,” he says. Head to Vice to read the entire interview, which includes EDES personal story of coming out and how Copenhagen has reacted to his art.
Does art like this help to normalize homosexuality, or does it only give those with anti-LGBTQ sentiments room for complaint?