Monday, April 27, 2009

James Kuhn – From Christian Drag Queen to Artful Chameleon

It all started the other day when I was looking through pictures on Flickr. Someone who uses the screen name “Hawhawjames” had posted a mini-video of his face painted with the images of two Byzantine dancers. As he puffed out his cheeks and chin and moved his head about, the dancers moved in time to the jungle-esque drum beat sound track. It was hilarious ...and I was hooked! One doesn't see talent such as this every day. I had to find out more about this guy.

Turned out, the work was by James Kuhn, a performance artist from Three Oaks, Michigan, one of the most talented, fabulous and versatile people I have ever encountered!

Turns out James has the potential to inspire from many unexpected angles. Here he is as drag queen, “Junie Moon”

The artist states, “When I dress up in female drag I go by the name of Junie Moon! I have walked in at least 15 Chicago Gay and Lesbian Pride Parades, and did drag shows at bars in Chicago, with my various partners, mostly at the North End bar on Halsted Street. I am famous for my huge hair creations and wild getups. I rarely do shows anymore, but still attend the Halsted St. Fair in costume and am usually seen in the parade. I consider myself a Performance Artist and my drag is a natural extension of my art.”

I found this little anthology of James’ work here:

(If you can’t see the video above, please click HERE )

The more I investigated this artist, the more amazed I was by how he is able to transform his face and life into such wonderful and colorful personae.

I dropped him a line to ask if I could write an entry about him and was very pleased when he responded in the affirmative.

James informed me that he went to art school at the Art Institute of Chicago and obtained a BFA in drawing and painting. He is represented by “Blue Gallery” in Three Oaks, Mi.

He has an upcoming show there in September, and one in Toronto at an arts center where he plans to lecture about his 365 face art project. (Click HERE to see information about his incredible book, “365 Faces” )

The artist states. “I accidentaly discovered face painting and it has become my biggest passion. I think painting on skin is an amazing sensual experience, and painting myself in the mirror is always a fun challenge. Face paint must have magical powers because it transports me into another world where i can be anything i can imagine. I am constantly inspired, and see no limit to the medium.”

Watch the zebra move!

(click HERE if you can’t see the video )

…but wait….That’s not all!

James is a devout Christian who also paints Biblical art work that he sells to churches.

To make his Biblical works, James uses a paper mosaic technique in which he uses acrylic paint to cover small pieces of paper that he then layers onto a substrate, mosaic fashion. He says he has a number of loyal clients who purchase he work regularly. James attends the New Life Community of Hope, a "21st century, reconciling, and inclusive fellowship of Christian believers."

He writes about his ideas for face painting on his online journal HERE, and his Flickr photostream is HERE.

Check it all out. It will keep you fascinated for days on end!


Zanelle said...

Thank you for more information on this amazing person. A true creative talent with an interesting life story.

rebecca said...

Hahahaha! OMG, this guy is so much fun!!!!!

Stacy Alexander