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Cultural Commission: Asten Holmes-Elliott

Asten Holmes-Elliott is a Glasgow-based artist and film maker from East Sussex. They are the co-founder of magazine and club night Lock Up Your Daughters which showcases queer artists, musicians, photographers and film makers. Asten's short films have been shown at festivals all over the world, including Glasgow Short Film Festival and the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.

astenholmeselliott.com

THE COMMISSION 

Asten Holmes-Elliott was one of two artists commissioned during LGBT History Month 2013 to create work which engaged with the theme of LGBT history. The funding was provided by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland.

Launched in May 2013, The Queer Window Project is a series of 15 large-scale portrait illustrations and thirty photographs depicting members of the Scottish queer scene.

Subjects responded to a call put out by Asten inviting queer people to come forward and represent their community.

The illustrations were exhibited in a range of venues throughout the city of Glasgow – including 13th Note and Per Siempre Bike Café – to increase queer visibility within the city.

The aim was to celebrate LGBT identity with the illustrations themselves, while their placement outside of a traditional art space in everyday venues, avoids othering the LGBT community and underscores their presence within the range and diversity of Scottish society.

"The impact of the commission on my own work has been great - this year it was displayed at Creative Scotland’s offices and in Pride House as part of Commonwealth Games 2014. This led to a separate residency with Garry Mac which involved painting queer portraits of people (in a similar style to my cartoons) on the walls in Pride House.

There’s also impact due to the longevity of physical/tangible work in that the drawings and photographs exist so can go wherever they are wanted. This, alongside my working with Garry is the real impact for me. I want to get more into community work - this feels like a less-safe space - but by doing it in partnership with Garry I feel much more positive about it.  

I’ve really enjoyed being part of the bigger cycle of HM over the past two years - from getting my original commission to the interim showing at the Macrobert Arts Centre in February 2013 and then having a one year residency to develop it. The year-long cycle was definitely a good thing."

Asten Holmes-Elliott

"Whether it’s how they own the decks or the way their trousers hang, Elliott captures an essential queerness in their subjects. Though – the Six Degrees of Gayness says – go see them and you’ll surely find they look like people you already know well, and love."

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