Juno Birch – Alien Queen
Are the life experiences of an artist integral to the way we view their work?
The Italian film director Federico Fellini once said that “all art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster’s autobiography”. Lucian Freud commented that “everything is autobiographical and everything is a portrait, even if it’s a chair”.
If you’re Tracey Emin, for example, that means you make art about difficult childhoods, bad breakups and abortions. If you’re Juno Birch, on the other hand, a Manchester born, transgender artist and ‘alien queen’ you make art about that experience. And if you’re smart – like Juno plainly is – you recognise the importance of maintaining a sense of humour about it – something, arguably, Tracey has often slightly forgotten about…
Both hilarious and uncompromising, Juno’s art reveals her own experiences as a transwoman, exploring both the mental and physical processes of gender transition, reconciling her own feelings of being an outsider and creating work that can be as thought-provoking as it is delightful.
As well as being an illustrator and printmaker, Juno makes clay sculptures – often, as she says, ‘about alien women going shopping for their human groceries’.
‘Growing up as a boy was difficult because I always felt like a girl. My way of escaping was to draw all day, I’d draw pictures of women with big breasts, high heels and long hair. The femininity I lacked I drew out on paper. To this day I still do, my drawing is like my drag.’
To see more of her work: www.junobirch.com