Healer Brings ‘Fantastic Beings’ Funeral Home to Dollhaus II
Brian “Soigne” Wilson opened his first solo exhibition at the Dollhaus II art gallery in Bayonne. The show, which opened on May 21, will run until July 4.
The Dollhaus II is located at 23 Cottage Street, open Thursday through Sunday from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, visit www.xdollhausx.com or call 201-360-0894.
The Dollhaus began in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and was well attended for six years until rent increases and gentrification kicked out artists. The gallery was forced to travel to unknown areas to continue its activities and eventually reopened under the name of Dollhaus II, an “outer gallery” in Bayonne.
Today, Dollhaus is helping Bayonne to grow, highlighting “outside artists” like Soigne (pronounced SWAN-YE), simultaneously providing a platform for LGBT artists and artists of color.
Cares told the News from the community of Bayonne he started creating art as a child in Ohio.
“When I was a kid, I drew a picture of my best friend eating grapes,” Soigne said. “It was an almost realistic drawing of him. I showed it to my mother who said, “Oh my God, you are so talented! And that’s when I started taking art classes at school, learning to draw. “
Growing up, Soigne continued to pursue her art in high school, studying musical theater, drama, and visual arts at the Cincinnati School for Creative and Performing Arts. There he decided to embrace both performance and the visual arts.
“When I started art school, I decided to embark on the art of performance: the marriage of visual art, dance, costume and musical writing and singing, ”said Soigne.
He was also interested in sculpture and graphic design, the latter being useful later in life for art exhibitions. Nurse still helps design and create the flyers for her art vernissages, and recently designed the logo for the Bushwig Drag Festival in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
During this time, Soigne also developed his name. At the time, he was hand-painting t-shirts to make money and needed a name for the business. He took a French dictionary, which opened up to the word soigne, which means “fashionable and well-maintained”.
Soigne thought it was perfect and named his company like that. Later it would become her stage name.
Inspirations from Carnie
Soigne said he was first inspired by carnival posters and banners.
“The first time I was inspired by art was at a carnival. There was this poster for Big Bertha, it was a huge banner of this really fat woman, and the painting was so well done. Right next to her was this long-necked girl, a white woman with what looked like Marilyn Monroe’s face with a long neck. Then there was also the woman with two bodies. She had the head of a woman and two bodies from her one head. I was just mesmerized. It always shows up in my work. Forty years later, I’m still inspired by this idea of what is incredibly weird, weird, and bizarre.
An example of this is his work featuring two kids from the New York club as a two-headed spider. The kids at the club, drag queens, interesting people and her husband Brad also have a great influence on her art and appear frequently in her works.
“I’ve done a lot of portraits of my husband, much like Gala inspired Salvador Dali, Brad inspires me in the same way,” Soigne said. “A loving angel came into my life and we’ve been together for 17 years. He continues to be one of my main sources of inspiration.
Heal was inspired to create the “ fantastic beings ” at the center of the show while in a dark place in his life.
“I started drawing them at a time when I was really depressed and living in my parents’ basement. When I was 21, I had dropped out of school. At one point, I tried to kill myself. One day I was in the basement and couldn’t get up. I heard that little laugh. I thought it was a drunken rat, I don’t know. Then this little figure climbed on my chest with a little eye.
Soigne’s vision of the creepy but kookie name Cyclopi has become essential in his art.
“He is to me what Mickey Mouse is to Walt Disney or Spiderman is to Stan Lee,” said Soigne.
After that, Soigne created thousands of similar characters, filling over thirty sketchbooks with hundreds of pages of whimsical, usually happy, dancing, and / or weird beings. They are present in almost all of the works of art in the exhibition.
“They start with an abstract shape, I usually draw a really weird abstract shape, and then give it eyes or teeth,” said Soigne. “There are only thousands of them at this point, and I really, really love them.”
Collaborate with Dollhaus
This is not the first time that Soigne has collaborated with Emma Louise at the Dollhaus II. Soigne had already worked with Louise in New York, even before the first Dollhaus gallery was established in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Soigne has worked with Louise on projects such as “The Heaven and Hell Show”, “The Asylum for the Deranged” and “The Terrible Toy Fair”. In Bayonne, Soigne had participated in the group exhibition at Dollhaus II entitled “F * cked Up Disney”.
“Emma Louise has been like a sister to me. She is truly a wonderful impresario, ”said Soigne. “She really gives a platform for people who are stepping outside the norm. She owns an alternative art gallery. Much of the work is almost punk and weird but beautiful, surreal pop and not necessarily mundane.
This is what attracted Soigne to Louise in the first place and why her art compliments the gallery so well.
“It’s scary but fun. My exhibit is like a party house and sometimes you might see something terrifying about it, ”said Soigne.
Soigne’s experience as a kid at the club is also reflected in his work and brings it all together. He moved from Ohio to New York in 1993 and became a part of the Disco 2000 club kid’s party monster scene. There he began using his French nickname.
“I hung out with the kids at the club in the ’90s, so a lot of the paintings have a black background,” Soigne said. “I took a lot of pictures, and when you take pictures in clubs, there is always a black background. So I decided to integrate this into my work. I also started doing this with my characters to make everything show up. “
Some outfits and costumes he has worn over the years in nightclubs in New York City, Japan adorn the exhibit. The clothes are displayed on “cylones”, or Cyclops clones of Soigne present throughout the exhibition.
Embrace the local scene
Soigne hung his work in bustling art centers around the world and was happy to bring his art to Bayonne.
“I want to show my work to anyone who wants it,” said Soigne. “I am not geographically prejudiced. People are people everywhere you go. The reason I ended up in Bayonne is because of Emma Louise. There are nice people in Bayonne, there are nice people everywhere. I think my work has no audience, it appeals to everyone. “
The inauguration of Soigne in Bayonne featured an artist, Iggy Berlin, dressed as one of the “ fantastic beings ” in Soigne’s paintings. Berlin walked around the gallery and even stood in front of the gallery on the sidewalk, greeting participants. Other children from the club, some of whom are represented in Soigne’s work, were also present.
Cupcakes and cool drinks were served. Most of the paintings on display are for sale. In addition to the visual arts and costumes on display, a small television broadcast video of Soigne’s past performances in New York.
Following the opening, Soigne has known a wide range of Bayonnais so far during its show.
“I met a lot of fun people, different types of people,” Soigne said. “What I found fascinating in Bayonne was that I met homosexuals, blacks, whites, little people, ugly people, pretty people. This is what I like in my experience to show in Bayonne, it was a relatively diverse situation that I appreciated.
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