It was early on a Sunday morning, back in September of this year, that I discovered the blog, Naked Artisan. Intrigued, I began to read and learned that the author is a same gender loving nudist! Wow! Two traits in common! On further investigation, I learned that he’s also an artist! Too cool! I typed a comment to his blog, introduced myself, gave a link to A Guy Without Boxers and offered an interview.
Much sooner than I expected, I received an email in reply. Albert, the same gender loving nude creative artist and author of Naked Artisan was not only interested in being featured here, he was also enthusiastic! This was too good to be true! In the period between contacts, I had shared his site with Aaron, (my boyfriend), and he agreed with me that his art was bold, imaginative and decisive.
During the following week, we exchanged emails discussing this project. What impressed me about Albert was his fact that he was friendly and genuinely excited in collaborating. He even sent to me the photographs to use in this interview before I’d even posed the questions! I’d like you to meet Albert, a proud gay man, practicing nudist and creative genius!
Albert, About his art…
Roger: At what age did you discover your talent? Were you self-taught?
Albert: It was before I started school, so around age four or five. As a kid, my grandmother would watch me and she always had something stimulating to play with. I always went to the finger paint so she would ask me to paint her something. I remember how fun and rewarding it was. It still fuels my creativity today. That passion drives me to try new things and experiment with my art so a lot of itself through playing.
Roger: Please share any formal training that helped you develop your style. Any artist(s) in particular influential in your life? Your art background?
Albert: I learned a lot about art throughout my school years. I took art classes in every grade and loved every bit of it. I did so well that I was put into the honor classes his high school. A graphic design class was in there, too, and that sparked another flame. It wasn’t until college when I started researching artists I liked. A few of them are Jackson Pollock, Keith Haring and Mapplethorpe. Mapplethorpe’s my favorite though.
Roger: In your own words, how would you describe your artistic style?
Albert: Definitely different. I called it abstract expression with a huge imprint of color theory but based on what others have said…wow, deep, pop-ish, colorful, wild and really fun.
Roger: Any current or upcoming shows? Past events? If anyone is interested, do you have a website? Do you maintain a mailing list?
Albert: I recently showed at an art party a friend was throwing and that was a blast. Right now I do not have a website for my paintings but I definitely have one in the works.
Albert, on being gay…
Roger: Growing up, what were you taught about homosexuality? Were these views from family, religion or both?
Albert: I had a few different influences about homosexuality. I would hear bad things from my friends and family which made me think gay is just the worst. Being born into a traditional Christian family in the south didn’t make it any easier. It was hard to be myself around them because I knew I was gay and I knew how they felt about it. Church and school was the same. Gay is bad, it’s a sin, that’s nasty, fags need to die and it’s a terrible thing. But, there were some positives, too. I did my own research to gain understanding and befriended great people who really made my life a lot better than it could have been.
Roger: At what age did you recognize that you’re gay? What were some of your feelings upon this discovery? Were any of your classmates/peers openly gay?
Albert: I would say around age four. I had a buddy that would come over for play dates and we would fool around often. It wasn’t until my sex-ed class in fifth grade that I began to really, REALLY understand that I was a boy and that I had a penis and that I was attracted to other boys with penises. Girls just did not interest me at all. I kept it under wraps until I was in high school. I had one or two openly gay (if not bi) guys in my school. Watching them be themselves is what really made me want to come out. That and because I wanted to have a boyfriend.
Roger: On your blog, Naked Artisan, you are very open about being a same gender loving man. Are you as honest with your family and friends? Any unusual experiences surrounding your coming out process?
Albert: Yes, I am completely open about my sexuality and they love and embrace it. When I came out at age 17, I was assured that I was loved and that everything would be okay. Now that some time has passed it is as if nothing ever happened. As for my nudism, all my friends know and have seen me naked at one point or another. They find it interesting and enjoy when I do it.
Roger: As this country evolves, ever so slowly, towards marriage equality, what do you see as the next challenge facing the GLBT community?
Albert: Hmmm…that’s a good question. So good that I’ll have to think some more on this one.
Roger: As a Black, gay man, what issues do you believe the mainstream GLBT community needs to address in order to end discrimination within our own ranks?
Albert: TONS! And not just as a black gay man but for all of us. For one, let’s get rid of the label system. Twinks, bears, jocks, BBC, masculine, fem, bois, otters and silver daddies?! Just to name a few. It’s literally like a meat market with too many picky eaters. Give a guy a try. If you like him, YAY! If you don’t, oh well, but at least find out who he is first and not some assumption from his looks.
Roger: Any advice to the young, same gender loving people that you care to share?
Albert: Be yourself, love yourself, go naked and play safe!
Albert, talking about his nudity…
Roger: Once again, Albert, revisiting your childhood, what lessons were you given regarding nudity and being publicly naked?
Albert: I can’t really say I was taught any real lessons about it. The most I have seen was in movies, books, and things like that. I do remember my parents getting onto me because I would take off my undies before bed. I preferred sleeping naked then as well. They were never too serious about it though. There even times where family and I, as kids, would play outside in the rain naked. We just didn’t care.
Roger: Most teens, with the onset of puberty, become overly body-conscious and modest. Was this the case for you?
Albert: Nope. I was more focused on other people’s bodies rather than on my own, if you know what I mean. My friends would talk about how they have a lot more hair now or how puberty affected them and I thought it was fascinating and hot! I’ve always been a skinny toned kid and somehow kept in shape. One thing puberty did show me is that I happen to be a rather blessed down south and that was fun to explore.
Roger: Any life experiences influence your embracing naturism/nudism as a way of life? Was this a difficult step for you? Any unusual anecdotes?
Albert: I would say being in college and learning who I was in a place where I could be free. I learned a lot about things in this world and how to really be true to myself in order to enjoy it. That’s what sparked my interest in full on nudism. Now I want to be naked everywhere! I love it! Once I realized there were others like me out there I’ve been obsessing over it. I can’t recall any anecdotes right now but I’m sure there will be some in the future.
Albert’s “Sermon on the Virtues of Nudity”
Roger: What are some reactions from people when they learn of your preference for social nudity/nakedness?
Albert: Ummm…That’s awesome! Friends, family, people from the web, strangers on the streets, anyone that I happen to tell find it to be very cool. But, they aren’t sure if they could do it themselves. Being it is public nudity it’s easy to understand why.
Roger: Many people are afraid to try social nudity because of body-acceptance concerns. Was this true for you? Any advice to those who suffer from body anxieties?
Albert: Not at all! I never had that scary awkward feeling of being naked in public and I think everyone should try it at least once. The key is to understand that being naked is natural and that is is a universal commonality. No two bodies are the same yet it is something we all can share. Don’t see nudity as a form of ridicule. Instead, use it as a tool for inspiration. Let everyone know that you are proud of yourself, your body and your divine spirit as an individual. Of course, if I were giving such words of empowerment, I would be naked or in the process of taking my clothes off. Why? I believe in being the change you want to see. Don’t smoke a cigarette while telling people not to smoke. Don’t have clothes on when you’re praising nudity.
Roger: Recently, there have been complaints of subliminal racism within the clothes-free culture, especially from African-Americans and Hispanics/Latinos. Your opinions and/or thoughts on this?
Albert: Well…I can’t say I have seen, heard or experienced any kind of racism within my naked endeavors but I’ll bet it has a lot to do with body image and shapes. I find it ridiculous, though.
I am grateful to Albert for taking the time and effort in making this interview possible! He’s an amazing man and extremely talented. He’s very forthcoming, honest and proud of his art, his body, his humanity and his sexuality. I find what I have noted as his Sermon on the Virtues of Nudity (my title, not his) both impressive, inspirational and insightful. I’m honored to have him as a member of our same gender loving fraternity of nakedness! He’s truly an ideal role model for young gay nudists everywhere!
Please support Albert by checking out his Tumblr.com blog. You may access it here or by clicking on the title anywhere in the interview text. I know for a fact that he welcomes all and encourages comments.
Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!
Author’s Note: All images in this post are property of the interview subject and may not be used without his permission.