Devan Shimoyama is an American contemporary artist who uses the genre of portraiture to explore the domains of queer representation. Under the influence of classical mythology and allegory, he developed a vibrant and sensuous aesthetic centered on the black queer male body. Furthermore, Shimoyama uses the mystery and magic affiliated with his ancestry as allegories of celebration and silence to investigate the queer culture and sexuality.
In purely visual terms, his compositions are very much inspired the Old masters such as Caravaggio and Goya, but also the flamboyance of the 1980s, while the overall effect is achieved with the usage of splattered paint and stencils, as well as non-conventional materials like black glitter, rhinestones, and sequins.
Shimoyama graduated from Penn State University in 2011 with a BFA in Drawing/Painting before obtaining his MFA at Yale University School of Art in 2014. He received the Al Held Fellowship at the Yale School of Art in 2013 and his works were exhibited throughout America on numerous occasions.
Featured image: Devan Shimoyama - February, 2018 (detail). Silk flowers, beads, and rhinestones on fabric with steel mount and frame. 72 × 60 in. 182.9 × 152.4 cm. This is a unique work. Photo courtesy Kavi Gupta Gallery