EXPO CHICAGO 2017 Artist: Ricardo Bouyett

EXPO CHICAGO 2017 Artist: Ricardo Bouyett

Ricardo Bouyett has been selected as a ShopColumbia EXPO CHICAGO 2017 artist to represent Columbia College Chicago. We asked Ricardo a few questions about his work and presenting this year at EXPO CHICAGO.

Trigger warning: This body of work addresses sexual assault.

Give us an update about recent projects/artistic life events.

2017​ ​has​ ​proven​ ​to​ ​be​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​more​ ​challenging​ ​and​ ​defining​ ​years​ ​thus​ ​far,​ ​both artistically​ ​and​ ​personally.​ ​I​ ​moved​ ​back​ ​to​ ​the​ ​city​ ​in​ ​January​ ​on​ ​a​ ​whim​ ​and​ ​stayed with​ ​a​ ​bunch​ ​of​ ​strangers​ ​in​ ​an​ ​apartment​ ​above​ ​a​ ​bar​ ​in​ ​Wrigleyville.​ ​Completely​ ​out​ ​of my​ ​comfort​ ​zone,​ ​I​ ​still​ ​put​ ​myself​ ​to​ ​work​ ​and​ ​came​ ​out​ ​with​ ​four​ ​film​ ​projects.​ ​My​ ​most recent​ ​film,​ ​“No​ ​Love​ ​For​ ​Fuckboys”,​ ​has​ ​been​ ​making​ ​its​ ​rounds​ ​in​ ​film​ ​festivals​ ​and​ ​I was​ ​fortunate​ ​to​ ​sit​ ​down​ ​with​ ​The​ ​Independent​ ​and​ ​talk​ ​a​ ​little​ ​bit​ ​about​ ​the​ ​meaning behind​ ​the​ ​project.​ ​The​ ​film​ ​is​ ​a​ ​visual​ ​odyssey​ ​into​ ​a​ ​sexual​ ​assault​ ​survivor's​ ​journey through​ ​love,​ ​sex,​ ​violence,​ ​and​ ​hope​ ​post-assault.​ ​It​ ​has​ ​been​ ​doing​ ​well,​ ​it​ ​was recently​ ​nominated​ ​for​ ​best​ ​editing​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Bucharest​ ​Shortcut​ ​Cinefest​ ​this​ ​past​ ​June. I’m​ ​still​ ​awaiting​ ​some​ ​more​ ​responses​ ​but​ ​in​ ​the​ ​meantime​ ​I’ve​ ​been​ ​focusing​ ​all​ ​of​ ​my attention​ ​into​ ​my​ ​upcoming​ ​film​ ​projects​ ​Paloma,​ ​Vanilla,​ ​and​ ​a​ ​new​ ​photo​ ​series​ ​called Sugarcane.

My​ ​work​ ​is​ ​rooted​ ​in​ ​finding​ ​a​ ​sliver​ ​of​ ​peace​ ​from​ ​the​ ​traumas​ ​I’ve​ ​endured​ ​from​ ​being raped​ ​and​ ​abused​ ​in​ ​previous​ ​relationships​ ​and​ ​it​ ​seemed​ ​obvious​ ​to​ ​throw​ ​myself​ ​back into​ ​my​ ​work​ ​after​ ​enduring​ ​another​ ​sexual​ ​assault​ ​this​ ​past​ ​summer.​ ​I​ ​moved​ ​out​ ​of​ ​the city​ ​to​ ​start​ ​therapy​ ​and​ ​find​ ​healing​ ​in​ ​a​ ​different​ ​way​ ​and​ ​now​ ​that​ ​I’ve​ ​done​ ​that​ ​I​ ​want to​ ​keep​ ​making​ ​artwork.​ ​Before​ ​I​ ​focused​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​on​ ​healing,​ ​forgiveness,​ ​and​ ​moving​ ​on, now​ ​I​ ​want​ ​to​ ​dive​ ​deep​ ​into​ ​the​ ​darker​ ​psychology​ ​behind​ ​trauma​ ​and​ ​sexuality.​ ​These next​ ​projects​ ​will​ ​certainly​ ​explore​ ​that​ ​realm​ ​and​ ​I’m​ ​excited​ ​for​ ​it.

What will you be presenting at EXPO CHICAGO 2017?

At​ ​Expo​ ​I​ ​will​ ​be​ ​presenting​ ​an​ ​expansive​ ​series​ ​of​ ​photos​ ​and​ ​short​ ​films​ ​that​ ​examine the​ ​complexities​ ​of​ ​manhood​ ​and​ ​rape​ ​culture​ ​all​ ​the​ ​while​ ​dissecting​ ​my​ ​recovery​ ​from being​ ​raped​ ​called​ ​​"Oh,​ ​Bouy".​ ​This​ ​project​ ​sheds​ ​a​ ​different​ ​and​ ​often​ ​unheard perspective​ ​on​ ​rape​ ​culture​ ​and​ ​I​ ​think​ ​it’s​ ​important​ ​to​ ​push​ ​for​ ​more​ ​male​ ​involvement in​ ​topics​ ​of​ ​sexual​ ​violence.​ ​Not​ ​many​ ​male​ ​artists​ ​make​ ​work​ ​about​ ​it,​ ​let​ ​alone​ ​queer male​ ​artists​ ​that​ ​aren’t​ ​white.​ ​It’s​ ​exciting,​ ​it’s​ ​scary,​ ​people​ ​aren’t​ ​always​ ​comfortable talking​ ​about​ ​rape​ ​culture,​ ​consent,​ ​or​ ​racism.​ ​In​ ​the​ ​last​ ​year​ ​since​ ​I’ve​ ​been​ ​pushing the​ ​work​ ​out​ ​I’ve​ ​found​ ​myself​ ​receiving​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​wonderful​ ​messages​ ​from​ ​people who’ve​ ​been​ ​affected​ ​by​ ​men’s​ ​violence​ ​and​ ​issues​ ​of​ ​rape​ ​culture​ ​and​ ​telling​ ​me​ ​how the​ ​work​ ​has​ ​allowed​ ​them​ ​a​ ​moment’s​ ​peace.​ ​Being​ ​able​ ​to​ ​do​ ​that​ ​has​ ​been​ ​a blessing​ ​and​ ​I​ ​feel​ ​that​ ​the​ ​more​ ​people​ ​get​ ​to​ ​see​ ​this​ ​type​ ​of​ ​work​ ​and​ ​feel​ ​like​ ​their voices​ ​matter,​ ​the​ ​more​ ​likely​ ​they​ ​will​ ​be​ ​to​ ​create​ ​their​ ​own​ ​works​ ​or​ ​lift​ ​up​ ​their​ ​own voices.  

What inspired you to create this series of work?

I​ ​got​ ​the​ ​idea​ ​to​ ​make​ ​the​ ​body​ ​of​ ​work​ ​around​ ​the​ ​end​ ​of​ ​2015​ ​when​ ​I​ ​was​ ​struggling​ ​with continuing​ ​my​ ​career​ ​as​ ​a​ ​photographer.​ ​I​ ​didn’t​ ​know​ ​if​ ​it​ ​was​ ​right​ ​for​ ​me​ ​or​ ​if​ ​I​ ​was​ ​good enough​ ​to​ ​keep​ ​going​ ​and​ ​then​ ​I​ ​decided​ ​to​ ​make​ ​photographs​ ​and​ ​write​ ​about​ ​them​ ​without talking​ ​about​ ​it​ ​to​ ​anyone​ ​or​ ​sharing​ ​anything​ ​about​ ​it​ ​on​ ​social​ ​media.​ ​Then​ ​once​ ​I​ ​felt​ ​more confident​ ​in​ ​it​ ​I​ ​started​ ​opening​ ​up​ ​casting​ ​calls​ ​and​ ​scheduling​ ​studio​ ​shoots,​ ​etc.​ ​What​ ​really catapulted​ ​me​ ​into​ ​creating​ ​the​ ​project​ ​was​ ​the​ ​need​ ​to​ ​breakaway​ ​from​ ​what​ ​everyone expected​ ​me​ ​to​ ​make.​ ​In​ ​college​ ​I​ ​had​ ​made​ ​quite​ ​an​ ​impression​ ​on​ ​the​ ​faculty​ ​and​ ​the​ ​students by​ ​producing​ ​surrealistic​ ​photo​ ​manipulations.​ ​While​ ​yeah,​ ​they​ ​were​ ​great,​ ​they​ ​weren’t authentically​ ​me.​ ​I​ ​wanted​ ​to​ ​cut​ ​that​ ​out​ ​and​ ​create​ ​work​ ​that​ ​was​ ​inherently​ ​me​ ​and​ ​it​ ​was scary​ ​because​ ​I​ ​didn’t​ ​know​ ​how​ ​everyone​ ​would​ ​react​ ​to​ ​it.​ ​I​ ​had​ ​never​ ​worn​ ​a​ ​dress​ ​before,​ ​I had​ ​never​ ​called​ ​out​ ​systemic​ ​racism​ ​so​ ​publicly​ ​and​ ​I​ ​had​ ​never​ ​called​ ​out​ ​my​ ​peers​ ​for contributing​ ​to​ ​the​ ​culture​ ​that​ ​took​ ​so​ ​much​ ​from​ ​me.​ ​But​ ​I​ ​did​ ​it.​ ​I​ ​created​ ​the​ ​work​ ​and​ ​when​ ​I first​ ​released​ ​it​ ​I​ ​felt​ ​free.​ ​It’s​ ​hard​ ​to​ ​have​ ​publications,​ ​art​ ​platforms,​ ​and​ ​galleries​ ​tear​ ​the​ ​work to​ ​shreds​ ​and​ ​say​ ​there’s​ ​no​ ​audience​ ​for​ ​it​ ​but​ ​it's​ ​these​ ​same​ ​distribution​ ​channels​ ​that​ ​I’m critiquing​ ​in​ ​the​ ​work​ ​for​ ​sustaining​ ​a​ ​culture​ ​that’s​ ​obsessed​ ​with​ ​objectifying​ ​and hyper-sexualizing​ ​the​ ​human​ ​body.​ ​So,​ ​I​ ​just​ ​take​ ​the​ ​rejection​ ​with​ ​a​ ​grain​ ​of​ ​salt​ ​and​ ​keep pushing​ ​forward.

In what ways do you think you will benefit as a professional artist from EXPO CHICAGO 2017?

I’m​ ​not​ ​necessarily​ ​sure,​ ​but​ ​I​ ​definitely​ ​hope​ ​that​ ​I​ ​catch​ ​someone’s​ ​attention​ ​long​ ​enough​ ​for them​ ​to​ ​look​ ​at​ ​my​ ​trade​ ​books​ ​and​ ​decide​ ​to​ ​google​ ​my​ ​name.​ ​Hopefully​ ​they’ll​ ​stumble​ ​onto my​ ​film​ ​work,​ ​my​ ​writings,​ ​and​ ​think​ ​about​ ​how​ ​rape​ ​culture​ ​exists​ ​in​ ​their​ ​life.​ ​All​ ​I​ ​hope​ ​to​ ​get out​ ​of​ ​Expo​ ​is​ ​getting​ ​people​ ​to​ ​react​ ​and​ ​respond​ ​to​ ​the​ ​work.​ ​With​ ​what’s​ ​happening​ ​in​ ​our society,​ ​under​ ​this​ ​presidency,​ ​I​ ​want​ ​everyone​ ​to​ ​think​ ​critically​ ​about​ ​their​ ​involvement​ ​or​ ​lack of​ ​involvement​ ​and​ ​reflect​ ​on​ ​what​ ​that​ ​means.  

Artist Statement

As​ ​a​ ​visual​ ​artist​ ​I​ ​focus​ ​on​ ​sex,​ ​love,​ ​and​ ​violence.​ ​I​ ​create​ ​stories​ ​about​ ​survivors​ ​of sexual​ ​violence​ ​in​ ​an​ ​effort​ ​to​ ​transcend​ ​the​ ​tragedy​ ​and​ ​promote​ ​visibility​ ​and​ ​a​ ​voice​ ​for​ ​a demographic​ ​of​ ​society​ ​that's​ ​often​ ​silenced.​ ​In​ ​exploring​ ​the​ ​complexities​ ​of​ ​men’s​ ​violence​ ​and how​ ​it​ ​affects​ ​all​ ​people,​ ​I​ ​invite​ ​viewers​ ​to​ ​reflect​ ​and​ ​examine​ ​how​ ​they​ ​themselves​ ​operate within​ ​this​ ​culture​ ​of​ ​toxic​ ​masculinity. 

"Oh,​ ​Bouy"​ ​is​ ​an​ ​expansive​ ​exploration​ ​into​ ​the​ ​complexity​ ​of​ ​manhood​ ​in​ ​contemporary American​ ​society.​ ​Informed,​ ​inspired,​ ​and​ ​directed​ ​by​ ​my​ ​personal​ ​experiences​ ​with​ ​rape, racism,​ ​and​ ​domestic​ ​abuse,​ ​I​ ​created​ ​a​ ​collection​ ​of​ ​photos,​ ​poems,​ ​and​ ​films​ ​that​ ​helped​ ​me navigate​ ​both​ ​my​ ​recovery​ ​and​ ​the​ ​social​ ​landscape​ ​of​ ​the​ ​American​ ​male.​ ​The​ ​series​ ​is​ ​a culmination​ ​of​ ​four​ ​bodies​ ​of​ ​work​ ​spread​ ​out​ ​through​ ​year​ ​of​ ​2016​ ​as​ ​I​ ​was​ ​just​ ​beginning​ ​to speak​ ​out​ ​against​ ​rape​ ​culture​ ​and​ ​advocate​ ​for​ ​survivors.​ ​My​ ​mission​ ​with​ ​this​ ​body​ ​of​ ​work was​ ​to​ ​navigate​ ​my​ ​recovery​ ​all​ ​the​ ​while​ ​promoting​ ​the​ ​need​ ​for​ ​more​ ​men​ ​to​ ​be​ ​involved​ ​in discussions​ ​of​ ​consent​ ​and​ ​sexual​ ​violence​ ​in​ ​hopes​ ​of​ ​better​ ​educating​ ​the​ ​next​ ​generation​ ​of men.​ ​With​ ​this​ ​said,​ ​the​ ​series​ ​as​ ​a​ ​whole​ ​examines​ ​rape​ ​culture,​ ​toxic​ ​masculinity,​ ​and​ ​the psyche​ ​of​ ​a​ ​recovering​ ​rape​ ​survivor.



Click HERE to view works available for purchase through ShopColumbia.

September 13-17, 2017
Navy Pier, Festival Hall | 600 E Grand Ave, Chicago IL 60611

ShopColumbia Booth #867


Wednesday, September 13           6:00pm-9:00pm
*A benefit for the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, presented by the MCA Women's BoarD

             Purchase Vernissage tickets here

Thursday, September 14              11:00am-7:00pm
Friday, September 15                  11:00am-7:00pm 
Saturday, September 16              11:00am-7:00pm
Sunday, September 17                11:00am-6:00pm 

              Purchase general EXPO tickets here

*Visit our event page for further details and behind the scenes

See ShopColumbia listed as a Special Exhibitor here.

For more details, visit expochicago.com.

*ShopColumbia's storefront at 619 S Wabash Ave will be closed for the duration of EXPO CHICAGO. Visit our Facebook page for updates.