bcwallace

Outlawed Noble Men & Perverse Messenger Boys

Branden Charles Wallace
Branden Charles Wallace

This series answers the question of how intimate of a painting can I get from a total stranger. That stranger would not be a professional model. I would divide, the model on meeting, into one of two categories: "Outlawed Noblemen" or Perverse Messenger Boys. The two groups were based on a reference by a Scottish Newspaper, upon reviewing Oscar Wilde's book The Portrait of Dorian Gray, of the kind of person who would read and “enjoy such a wicked novel.”
The Newspaper’s classification refers to the Cleveland Street Scandal. A scandal that titillated Victorian England society had involved professional young men who also working as male prostitutes and Noblemen. HRH Prince Albert Victor was said to be involved.  The book would only be fit for the "Outlawed Noblemen and Perverse Telegraph boys,"

I wanted to take a classical scandal. I wanted to assume men involved in the scandal to the models that answered my ad to pose. I wanted this to be “anonymous hook-up paintings” I wanted to get a complete stranger, who was not a professional model. I asked the first meeting to be at my place not studio.  

One source for models was Craigslist.com section Men for Men personals. Men actively looking at a website that lists is dominated offers to have homosexual encounters. Instead, I ask them to pose for a painting. The poses were based on classical paintings and drawings (back to the classical scandal). Then, on meeting them I decided what character in the scandal they would play.  I asked the complete strangers to pose as the classical pose, but in more provocative/ venerable poses.

The “pushing-the-point” was to see where they would eventually say "no," to my request. And that would come down to a matter of trust.  I had to trust this complete stranger in my personal space. They had to have trust in me, to come to my home, to let me pose them and to hold a pose for a person they don’t know anything about personally.  And we both had to trust – even that it was a listing in a sex searching site, and my ads all stated no sex involved, that nothing other than painting would occur.

The model and I had to develop an intimate relationship quickly. I think some of the trust had to do with the professionalism I have as an artist.  The people that posed trusted me. The previous work I had around the apartment, my serious work ethics. my personal nature.  I couldn’t tell. But I got this body
of work.  
I never reached that limit with people posing for me.

It showed me that men in our society just wanted to be looked at and validated.