Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Artist shows sensuous gay saints: Ted Fusby

“Two Saints: Tete-a-tete” by Ted Fusby

Saints are “carnal, gay, and live worldly lives” in the paintings of Arizona artist Ted Fusby.
He specializes in male nudes, including saints and demons. His “Two Saints: Tete-a-tete” (above) is widely used on LGBT spirituality websites. It shows two male saints resting against each other, haloes joined in a moment of bliss.

“A visitor once asked me, after seeing halos on some figures, if I thought that gay people were saints,” Fusby says. “I told him no, but some saints may have been gay. I also believe that, being human, they were probably more carnal than many idealists would like to believe.”

Fusby enjoys teasing the viewer with the unexpected, including modern gay leathermen mixed in with traditional Christian iconography. “I like ambiguous subjects, such as martyrs who may or may not be saints, and S/M situations which may or may not be Christian,” he explains.

Much of Fusby’s art is too sexually explicit to be posted here, but it can be viewed on his website, tedfusby.com. As stated there, “This website celebrates the glories of the adult male nude, and to all those who enjoy male nudes, welcome!” The website includes 26 paintings in his “saints and demons” series, as well as male nudes in landscapes, locker room and other settings.

Born in 1943, Fusby is largely self-taught as an artist. His recent work is done in watercolor and colored pencil, sometimes with additions of metallic watercolor, gouache or ink.

Special thanks to Ted Fusby for permission to reproduce his art on the Jesus in Love Blog. “I will be curious to see if they get any reaction from your viewers,” he says.

“Two Saints” by Ted Fusby
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10 comments:

Anonymous said...

The two pictures featured reveal the humaness - the ordinaryness - of the saints, too many of whom are placed on pedestals beyond out reach. We have all met saints in our lives. For me these picture honour the gay saints I have met over the past half century. Congratulations Fred.
Br Graham-Michoel

KittKatt said...

“We have all met saints in our lives.” Well said, Brother Graham-Michoel! I thought saints, especially LGBT saints, were rare when I began the GLBT saints series here a few years ago. I have come to understand that they are all around us. Looking at pictures of “gay saints” has helped me recognize more of them in my life and in history.

Sage said...

I must be hanging out with the wrong people here in Tucson :-) I had no idea an artist such as Ted Fusby was right here in my midst. I like his simple, gentle yet intense style very much. So much of my life centers around destabilizing that age old rift that exists between religion/spirit and sexuality. I went to Ted's website and predictably, his pieces that are an homage to the confluence of sex and spirit are my favorites.

Like you Kitt and the first commenter speak of, I too have become increasingly aware of LGBT saints throughout my life. My first awareness came through my time at the seminary beginning at age 18 and then again once I entered the monastery. Once I developed a serious Sufi practice, that awareness broadened considerably. Once I began hanging out at radical faerie communities and eventually identifying as such myself, again, awareness increased. Reading this blog regularly, again has broadened my awareness. I do not encounter LGBT saints at every single LGBT gathering I attend. Still yes, they are all around us and very plentiful.

Yewtree said...

These images are beautiful, especially the first one you posted.

Someone told me that very holy people are slightly androgynous because they have integrated the "feminine" and "masculine" aspects of their psyches. If that's so then LGBTQI people can often have an advantage (or at least those that are also genderqueer).

Trudie said...

My definition of saint has absolutely nothing to do with what the hierarchical church defines, and everything to do with the quality of love displayed. This is a beautiful post that absolutely fits this definition of sanctity.

KittKatt said...

Sage, I’m glad that I could introduce you to a gay spiritual artist in your own state of Arizona.
I have to keep reminding myself that there are wonderful gifts right in my midst, but I’m not yet aware of them. I didn’t mean to say that LGBT people are saints, however. I agree with your statement -- they are very plentiful. And there are saints and angels around us who are not LGBT too.

Yewtree, I’ve also heard that being queer can bestow a special spiritual gift because we cross the boundaries of gender, giving us the ability to see both (multiple?) sides.

Trudie, I am inspired by your statement that your idea of sainthood has nothing to do with the church’s definition. Today I wrote about a 17th-century woman artist, Artemisia Gentileschi, who is not usually considered a saint… and yet she does display qualities that I find saintly. I will keep seeking “saints” to feature on this blog.

I heard from the artist Ted Fusby today that he is enjoying all your comments.

Sage said...

I jut keep coming back to Ted's art. I'm spending alot of time on his website of late. The more I take it in, the more I appreciate it.

graybw said...

Ted's work is very thought provoking - I find his picture very useful for meditation - they leave wiht so much spiritual calm and induce much prayer.
Graham

Lethe Press & White Crane Books said...

I think being a saint means creating more love in the world. I think of the line from the song "Everything Possible" (written by Fred Small, sung by The Flirtation): "And the only measure of your words and your deeds will be the love you leave behind when you're gone."

And I think gay people do a saintly thing just by being gay and not contributing to the terrible problem of human overpopulation. This is THE problem on Earth and the source of all the other problems. By living happy, fulfilled and fulfilling, contributing lives we model the message that you don't have to reproduce to be a full, worthwhile human being--a very important message at this time in history. Toby Johnson

KittKatt said...

Graybw, meditating on the image of the two saints is a good idea!

Toby, I like your definition of saints as those who bring more love into the world. Another song lyric that comes to my mind is from the Beatles: “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” Although Jesus would say that you actually end up with MORE love than you make, because it is multiplied in the realm of God like a seed that grows.

Your statement that queer people are a solution to overpopulation is one of the classic gay-liberation ideas, and it makes sense to me. And yet nowadays many LGBT people have children….