Devan Shimoyama


I seek to reimagine the black queer male body as both desirous and desirable. He is a creature of both mystery and magic in a developmental stage of locating one’s origins.  A certain reticence about gay male sexuality comes into question, followed by an exploration of locating where the queer black male body fits into contemporary society and even within the microcosm of queer/gay male politics besides the better-known examples such as Ru Paul. My paintings explore the relationship between celebration and silence in queer culture and sexuality. Using primarily self-portraiture, I renounce the notion of one’s body belonging to oneself. My body serves as the home in which I reside, maintain and utilize his functionality to navigate the world. He becomes a portal for the viewer to enter and undergo a symbiotic relationship with him. Fairy tales, folklore and mythology greatly influence the narrative element within my paintings, alluding to a creation myth of the queer black male. Through the tactility of the thickly poured and splattered paint to the effervescent luminous sprayed stencils, I create silhouettes of figures bursting with divine ecstasy, at times interacting with other figures of possibly a different realm engaging in a post coital union or collision. These figures are stripped, dauntless and often brazenly inviting in their demeanor.  They exist as wholly magical, yet universally human.