Featured ARTIST: James Falciano

Self-Portrait

PRONOUNS: He/Him/His/They/Them/Theirs

MEDIUM OF CHOICE: Marker and Micron Pen on Paper

I first met JAMES FALCIANO at a queer marketplace where we were both selling our work. He had bright blue hair and a stunning floral print shirt that made him stand out in the line of vendors. And talking with him revealed a friendly, gentle demeanor. The detail in his work was breathtaking and I could see a lot of himself in his artwork. The bright color palettes and heavy floral influence reflect his personal aesthetic, but there's also a way he depicts his subjects that reflects his character.

James is inspired by people who are fearlessly queer and authentic. "I think for so long I was scared of living out and proud, seeing these individuals doing so gave me the strength to also shine my light a little brighter.  I wanted to celebrate their inspiring strength in my work." And his admiration of his subjects is clear. His work celebrates the beauty of the subject, capturing their spirit and passion. The time and care he puts in to his art reflects his admiration of them.

He feels that art is a universal way of communicating a message or even a mood. "This is a powerful tool for queers, particularly in this climate, because it can be a huge way of furthering the visibility of our community." Whether queer art is lifting up members of the community, or educating society as a whole, James hopes his artwork can have the same effect. "Many of my subjects have helped me find my voice as a queer person, and I, in turn want this celebration of queerness in my work to inspire those who are still figuring out who they are."

It's been a rewarding experience for him since he decided to start sharing his queer work on Instagram. "After feeling out of place most of my life, to finally connect with like-minded creative individuals within my own community has been like finding my 'tribe' so to speak."  He has loved connecting with other artists, learning from them, and developing friendships. And being included in a Pride themed show at the top of the World Trade Center last summer was a career highlight for him.

Over the past couple months, he has been dealing with being censored and shadow banned on Instagram and being bombarded with a bunch of bigoted comments on his posts.  If anything, James seems to be coming out stronger than ever before. “This ban galvanized me into action and I want to continue to speak out against the censorship of queer content.” He has been making his voice heard and raising awareness of queer censorship on social media, which we are all grateful for.  We asked him his experiences with this would have an affect on the work he produces: “I’m certainly not going to shy away from nudity when I feel like exploring that, and I’m no longer going to worry if the subject matter may be divisive. It has given me the incentive to push forward with authenticity and queer visibility.”

Finally, we asked him what makes a guy “doable” to him, and after getting to know him, it doesn’t come as a surprise when he told us “Someone who is unapologetically authentic. Someone at peace with themselves, who knows who they are and owns it.” Also adding, “someone who rocks their natural body fur is always a resounding YES in my book.”

Keep a look out for new work on his Instagram (@jamesfalciano) and find him around the NYC area at various queer/art markets. He is always open to discuss commissions as well, so feel free to hit him up!