I am in love with Gay Goth Scene – The Hidden Cameras singer/songwriter Joel Gibb and artist Paul P's queer zine. In a humorous way, it reminds me of my youth in an industrial small town in Germany, feeling doomed, surrounded by Nazis old and new, expecting a short life in a soon to be destroyed environment. Pretty gothic. Then and now. In those days it helped me to listen to The Sisters of Mercy and Christian Death, to dress up, and then transplanting myself to a big city, coming out of the closet, going out, finding my own family. There where options.
With the zine, the two artists tried: “purporting to the world a fully formed underground or riotous gang that never really quite existed outside the lives of its makers – though through self-publishing their scenes were eventually willed into existence“. Well, for now I want more Gay Goth pleasures and things I admire in my life, so I’ve asked them for permission to spice up my new show with the zine pages.
– Dirk Stewen, March 2017
“Joel and I made Gay Goth Scene at a time when we were both working at a photocopy store located in an underground concourse in the financial district of Toronto. We had a key to get in after business hours when the place was like a ghost town. We've been friends since we were ten years old and grew up together in suburbia, living one street away, going to the same church, bonded by our love of making campy jokes and by music (including a shared goth phase). We were obsessed with bands and went to the city to see shows several times a week, for years and years. We loved the idea of the underground, and sonically it ministered to us, but for all of our efforts (making zines, having a band, and loitering in cool places) we never managed to find the underground, at least nothing more interesting that what we'd cultivated between just the two of us. Years later, at the photocopy store, we'd already each embarked upon our principle artistic métiers: Joel as a musician with his newly inaugurated The Hidden Cameras, and me, as a painter. Gay Goth Scene zine was two things. First it was a marriage for our overlapping bred-in-the-bone fascinations - Joel had composed Gay Goth Scene, a song about a vicious cycle of gay goth teenage alienation (a live favourite for years that has only recently been recorded and released), and I was making portraits of guys from vintage gay porn magazines painted wearing masks with bats flying in the background, albeit in a pink palette. Secondly though, Gay Goth Scene was also a loving homage, as well as a bit of send-up, of a zine phenomenon particular to Toronto, which with J.D.'s and This is the Salivation Army (it’s creator Scott Treleaven had recently become my boyfriend), was famous for purporting to the world a fully formed underground or riotous gang that never really quite existed outside the lives of its makers - though through self-publishing their scenes were eventually willed into existence! From Xeroxes of vintage porn embellished with Whiteout and a Sharpie, Gay Goth Scene was always earnest in its sentiment – “we crave evil cock”! The scene is (still) growing!
– Paul P., From “Queer Zines 2”, by Philip Aarons and AA Bronson, published by Printed Matter & Witte de With, 2014.
Paul P. (b. 1977 in Canada) AKA: Bones, first gained attention for his drawings and paintings of young men that systematically re-imagined found erotic photographs along nineteenth century aesthetic modes. In recent years the artist’s interests in transience, desire, cataloging, and notation has expanded to include landscapes and their abstraction, and to sculptural works in the form of furniture. Paul P. was included in the 2014 Whitney Biennial, as well as in group exhibitions at MoMA, and the Freud Museum, London. His work is in the collections of MoMA, LACMA, The Brooklyn Museum, SFMoMA, The AGO, and The Whitney among others.
One of Canada’s most mercurial artists, Joel Gibb (b. 1977 in Canada) AKA: Raven is the lead singer, songwriter and choir captain of The Hidden Cameras. Forming in Toronto in 2001, Gibb and his gang of musical provocateurs have created music and live performances legendary for their raucous, unfettered celebration of freedom and sexuality. He also makes videos, exhibits art and sometimes lives in Berlin.
Dirk Stewen’s (b. 1972, Dortmund, Germany) work has been featured in numerous international gallery exhibitions. Institutional solo exhibitions include: The Locker Plant, Chinati Foundation Artist in Residence, Marfa; Exercises, Kunstverein Overbeck Gesellschaft, Lübeck; The Exhibition Formerly Known as Passengers: Dirk Stewen, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco; Sugar, Lump Sugar, Künstlerhaus Stuttgart.