artist enamoured with the erotic
SDk: One question immediately suggests itself from the outset: you do not present yourself as “Canadian” – including in your SDk profile – but, instead, state your nationality as your ethnic backgrounds. Why is this?
Amoxes: Good question! When people ask me my nationality I rarely say Canadian; my answer is most of the time Métis. Why? Well to start, I’m half Native Indian with various ethnic backgrounds, and because of this mix I never really saw myself attached to one side of my family roots but more like a mixture of all of them. I see myself as being part of the world and less a part of a country, state or even a single culture. We all need to be born somewhere and we get this ethnic heritage depending where we arrive, and we live with it during this life. If we look around us today, people do not just relate to one identity; we are starting to relate to many people at once and never before has the world been so open to this.
SDk: Does your emphasis on ethnic identity have anything to do with the “Middle Eastern” paintings you exhibited in 2004? What is the connection between yourself and the Middle East, and how did you come to do these paintings?
A: This question is a complex one to answer. My connection with the Middle East is strangely a very deep artistic and personal one. Even perhaps a spiritual one but not in a religious way. I always felt grounded with the people there and in a way connected with the essence of the various countries we find there. I was born and raised in Toronto and during my youth many of my good friends were from the Middle East or close to there, not to mention lots of Haitians as well. I guess having the chance to grow up with these cultures created a bond from the start.
SDk: Your focus as an artist rejects mainstream consumer culture; can you elaborate on how you came to adopt this position?
A: I guess it’s in my nature. With this said I’m not someone who seeks out public attention and uses a sort of “Je suis an original artist” slogan, making people believe my work is pure, original and special, like we see a lot of these days. Absolutely not, and I want to make this very clear. It’s not really a choice not to follow the commercial road but, rather, a need to follow what truly represents my inner self. I don’t have a problem for those who decide to make commercial art, we all need to pay our bills and it’s the safer road if we
want to live a stable life. Of course, I won’t refuse a well-paid commission if it’s offered – I just don’t concentrate all my work in that direction.
Since I was seven it was already clear to me I would not follow the mainstream. Believing and applying this creates consequences and I learned this the hard way. Still today it’s not always easy but it’s my choice. I’d rather work a part-time job and be able to create what I want than to be castrated mentally and artistically and create insipid work that doesn’t represent what I truly want to express. Money doesn’t always come into it and quite frankly it’s frustrating at times, but that’s the deal. For those who read this and would like to follow this path, understand what you are truly getting into. This choice might create social problems, financial problems, and could even cost some of your friends and loved ones who might reject you.
Why? Simply because it might become too hard for them to cope with your situation, and that is understandable. Everything has a price, even this form of liberty. But is “liberty” truly out there, or do we think we're free but really caught up with something else?
SDk: Do you regard your non-erotic art as fitting more comfortably with
mainstream culture, and how do you view this?
A: My answer regarding erotic art will be blunt. In my opinion, we live in a very hypocritical society that hides behind false masks. Do I regard my non-erotic art as fitting more comfortably with mainstream culture? Yes and no.
Yes, because my erotic art seems to endlessly create that itch you can’t scratch for all those hypocrites out there who love to express their outrage about this sort of creativity while in some cases secretly admiring it. I’m quite sure many artists, editors,