Studio One Toi Tū offers more ways for Aucklanders to meet and share ideas, skills and practices, with each other and visitors. Whether you’re a beginner or experienced, a maker a resident or a visitor, creativity can become part of your life in Auckland.
They keen to hear from makers and innovators with ideas for events, activities and exhibitions or those with studio or space enquiries and proposals.
When we visited, one of the shows that was on was titled Ego Morpheus. A collective featuring several artists among which the work of Don Chooi was very noticeable for his graphical impact and the subject it dealt with.
As a self identified gay bear, Don is intrigued by the gay bear subculture attitude and predilections towards hyper-masculinity.
His work seeks to question the performative aspects of this subculture, and bring to attention the otherness of the gay bear, capable of being empathetic, kind and nurturing.
This is in contrast to the hegemonic conceptions, or stereotypes, that this subculture as being party-filled, sex-oriented and, which only places a premium on seeming butch and 'masc'.
Stemming from the anguish and grief he experienced of having recently lost his life partner, Don's work recognises the more interiorised and altruistic attitudes of the gay bear, thus challenging the concepts of masculinity for those who identify within this subculture.
Don explains his piece.
"This illustrative piece explores the discourse of belonging and masculine identity of the ethnic-minority gay bear within a euro-centric gay bear subculture. Through the aesthetics of Chinese brush-painting and augmented reality, the work serves as a metaphor that seeks to enrich the discourse around sexual and cultural anxieties of the ethnic-minority." Don Chooi