Jeremy Novy

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For the past eighteen years, Jeremy Novy has utilized stenciled street art to explore social and political issues. Novy has an associate’s degree in graphic design and a BFA in photography from Pecks School of the Arts, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Novy has two intentions for his stencils: first, he creates public works that make his city a better place to live by bringing a bit of the arts to everyone, regardless of income or background. Seeing problems such as abandoned telephone booths and boarded up buildings, he creates artful solutions by overlaying stenciled posters onto the disused objects giving them new life.

His second intention is to bring gay imagery into the homophobic subculture of street artists by covering hateful and distasteful graffiti in our communities. Novy wants the gay street artist community to flourish and not be bullied or afraid to express themselves with their artwork. Novy states that "street art itself is a dominantly male heterosexual community; being out of the closet is not accepted. Gay street artists have been assaulted, their art supplies stolen or damaged, and their works covered up. He would like to see everyone's artwork—not just the heterosexual males who dominates the street art subculture—have an opportunity to be seen and appreciated. His unique stencils of legendary drag queens, gay pulp and local talent and koi have been spotted all over town and were responsible for netting him a showcase at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. He was also flown to Milwaukee to stencil the Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer mansion. He currently has been traveling America painting koi coast to coast with 9 major cities in his 2013 tour. Jeremy’s stencils have benefited non-profit foundations, advocacy organizations, and community service programs, and have been featured in books, magazines, newspapers, museum archives, private collections and in film.

In 2011, he curated the world's first group queer street art exhibit called "A History of Queer Street Art" which premiered in San Francisco to critical acclaim. Since its premiere, the exhibit has traveled to Pop Up Gallery in Los Angeles, California and Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. This exhibit is documenting the struggle of international gay, straight, bi, trans, male and female artists and their use of adhesive stickers and posters to bring attention to the queer struggle for acceptance worldwide.

Artist Statement

In the world of street art and graffiti, the image of the female body has been honored and sexually objectified at the same time. Images of nude provocative females have adorned city walls around the world. Even female stencil artist AIKO has addressed this issue by making stenciled female phone sex and prostitution ads.

In turn, I have created images of the male body for sexual objectification purposes and as the opposite yet the same image of Lady AIKO’s work. Yet it is not just about a male nude image in a vintage phone sex ad. No, it’s about queer history.

In the late 70s and early 80s, literature such as queer zines and homoerotic magazines found phone sex hotline ads as a way to fund the printing of queer literature in a time when there was no grant funding or huge private donations to be found for such projects.

At the same time, the AIDS epidemic struck and people were afraid to go to gay bars or have actual human contact with another gay person not fully knowing how it was transmitted but knowing it had something to do with sex. Phone sex took off as a means of safe sex. As well as a way for closeted men to make a move toward being true to themselves, that they were a gay man.

The exhibit is a collection of stenciled reproduction by street stencil artist Jeremy Novy. The stencils depict vintage phone sex ad found in the back of several gay porn magazines of the 70s and 80s, like Honcho and Drummer Magazine.

Exhibited Work

Leather Line Boy

2011
Spray paint stencil on found wood
20.5”x12”

Bone Daddy

2011
Spray paint stencil on found wood
21.5”x11.5”

Leather Line Daddy

2011
Spray paint stencil on found wood
21”x13”

Bone Boy

2011
Spray paint stencil on found wood
18”x12.5”

Sweaty Sex Daddy

2015
Spray paint on found wood
20”x12”

Sweaty Sex Boy

2015
Spray paint on found wood
20.5”x12”

Jerk Off Daddy

2015
Spray paint on found wood
20.5”x12”

Jerk Off Boy

2015
Spray paint on found wood
20.5”x12”

Man Talk Daddy

2015
Spray paint on found wood
20”x12”

Man Talk Boy

2015
Spray paint on found wood
20”x12”

Phone Sex=Safe Sex

2015
Spray paint on found wood
20.5”x11.5”

Phone Sex Hotline

2015
Rotary phone and electronics
2”x2”x2”

About this Article

This article was originally created as part of SOMArts Cultural Center's Making a Scene: 50 Years of Alternative Bay Area Spaces. To learn how to add or edit content please visit the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism's online History Collection Lab.

Sources