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Ian Bruce's studio in London

The Pink Portraits by Ian Bruce

Ian Bruce is an artist and portrait painter working in London. In this video interview, which can currently be seen HERE, he talks about his latest project – a series called The Pink Portraits.

The portraits all feature people in a state of transition: a clown who has just changed into his normal clothes backstage (but still wears the face paint); a burlesque dancer whose stomach still bears the marks from her bone corset; and Ian Bruce himself as a transvestite stripped of his wig and dress, but still bearing traces of his female alter-ego, such as red nail varnish.

My Windows Movie Maker died a horrible death yesterday, so I had to put the video together in a dodgy online editing suite called JayCut – hence the poor quality and rough cutting. An improved version will be embedded here soon.

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Pussy Power is sitting in her studio at Warehouse B16, The Old Peanut Factory, wearing a feathered eye mask and smoking a rollie. Behind her, the wall is covered in black and white photos of French actress Sarah Bernhardt. In the corner, a row of bunting made out of porn mags hangs across the biggest pair of pants I have ever seen. A cast of a pelvic bone made out of Dolly Mixtures next to them on a table. Pussy Power greets me warmly, and invites me to take my shoes off (because of the carpet) and come in.

Pussy Power

Why do you call yourself Pussy Power?

The art I make under the name Pussy Power (which includes sewing, painting, drawing, performance, writing and making ukeleles) is about trying figure out what kind of a world I’m bringing my daughters up in. It’s also about trying to figure out what feminism is, as it seems to have become a dirty word. Pussy Power embodies feminism for women who love men and have a sense of humour.

Tell me about the pants.

I have two daughters – one’s twelve, one’s seventeen – and I worked out I’ve washed over 10,000 pairs of knickers. It makes me a bit of an authority. So I got the biggest knickers in Britain, asked people to get in them and gallop up and down. They are officially the biggest knickers in Britain – 8XL, I think. I searched online and found the Big Bloomer Company, who sent them to me beautifully packaged up in red tissue paper. And I have written on them:

The thing about these Hackney Wickers
I’m told is they’re wearing no knickers
So why not try these
They come to your knees

What about the bunting?

I started off doing graffiti porn because I was interested in the fact that graffiti has become like wallpaper: people aren’t shocked by it anymore. I call it c**t bunting or the fanny banner. People say, “Oh yeah, porn is hilarious,” but let’s not get so ironic and cool and edgy that we forget these are people. I get inside the picture with these women and look out at you, laughing.

And the pelvic bone?

The pelvic bone (which is cast in clay, and covered in white sugar and Dolly Mixtures) highlights an injury I had to my pelvis when I was pregnant. I had a trapped nerve. I knew a woman who took an overdose because of the pain of it, so I’m trying to raise consciousness.

How long have you been working in this studio?

I decided last december that I wanted to get a studio and answered an ad on Facebook. I had no idea Hackney Wick had a reputation as an artistic community; I just wanted a studio. I’ve lived in Shoreditch for 8 years and watched it become more and more trendy. It pushes studio rents out of my price range. I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m part of a community of artists but it’s nice to be in an environment where you feel like anything goes – whatever daft idea you have.
 
You can read the full story of the Biggest Knickers in Britain on the Pussy Power website.

pussy.power@mac.com
www.pussypower.me.uk
www.myspace.com/pussypower_me
www.facebook.com/pages/Pussy-Power/15204671729

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