“The Hunter” (detail), Jamie Cardillo, 2022.
This piece is part of Bossy’s Visual Interviews series, which aims to put a spotlight on artists and how their work tells the story of their identities and experiences. The statement and works below were created by Jamie Cardillo, a second-year student studying a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in English.
My name is Jamie (affectionately known as Jam), and I am a non-binary digital painter on the aromantic and asexual spectrums. I prefer they/them pronouns but don’t mind any! I am a self-taught artist who made the transition from traditional art to digital art in 2017, using the free app MediBang Paint to create digital “paintings”. As I have grown into my identity as a genderqueer person, I have often depicted my struggles to comprehend this identity in my art. Much of my work depicts genderless, sexless, or otherwise androgynous people who represent my non-binary gender. I find I have a vastly different—or rather, lack of—understanding of gender compared to my cis or trans-binary friends. Representation of non-binary people and ideas in art is important in communicating an experience that is not well understood outside certain communities.
“The Hunter”, Jamie Cardillo, 2022.
While a lot of my portraits do depict bodies with characteristics like breasts or penises, I like to present my work in as much of an un-gendered way as possible, to try to break down the associations of different body parts with specific genders. As someone who experiences little to no sexual attraction, I find myself fascinated and stumped by the way naked bodies—especially AFAB bodies—are inherently sexualised in the media and society, even if there is nothing sexual behind the way they are presented. Through my art I strive to desexualise bodies, hence the common motif of being naked—I want to represent people’s bodies without sexual connotations/implication of sexual meaning.
“The Lady of The Lake”, Jamie Cardillo, 2021.
Despite this, and without ever having posted NSFW or suggestive pieces online, my art has previously been removed from various social media platforms for “sexual content”. Censorship of naked bodies on these platforms stems from social implications of nakedness—naked bodies are viewed as inherently sexual, and thus are censored. By normalising desexualised bodies through art and media, we are able to step away from the reinforcement of taboos, shame, and self-fear that comes with censorship, and open up a healthy dialogue about body positivity. Overall, my identity as a queer person has shaped the way my art style has developed and will continue to develop, and I personally believe that my art would not be how it is without the influence of my queerness.
“The Sword of Damocles”, Jamie Cardillo, 2021.