Queer Puppetry Making Cardboard Cool

Carlisle Artist Aidan Dawson shares queer experience through photomontage

Aidan Dawson is working on a film project that talks of queer experience through the art of puppetry. Inspired by Hannah Höch and Dompteuse but reimagined through a contemporary lense, the outcome of the puppet building process is a whimsical montage of pop culture, irreverent observation and fairytale escapism.

Hi Aidan! We bloody love your puppets! Can you introduce yourself – name / from / pronouns please?

Hello my name is Aidan Dawson, I’m from Cumbria and my pronouns are He/Him.

Can you tell us a little about this project and your art in general?

My art work in this project is utilising found materials that are being up-cycled into these fabulous puppets! My Art is always queer and constantly growing and altering, telling shared experiences! 

Its an amazing idea, where did the idea come from and what are it’s aims?

The visual ideas came from Early 20th Century photomontage practitioner Hannah Höch especially Grotesque (1963) and Dompteuse (1930) while the psychological aspects came from the experiences of how Queer people such as myself can be perceived and how we can sometimes perceive this rather confusing world.

What inspires you as an artist?

I am inspired by SO MUCH! From films, shows, my friends, my partner and what is occurring within both the entire world and my world.

Also collage/photomontage. It is so crazy and fascinating.

How was it growing up in Cumbria both as a queer person and a creative person?

Growing up as a queer person was…interesting, a little isolated especially when you don’t fit into a heteronormative canon. Growing up creative always allowed me to have a strange confidence because it reminded me why I was different and being different is pretty fun!

What was your school experience like?

School was not ideal, I went into it expecting a certain narrative that wasn’t met and I really struggled with multiple aspects of myself and how I acted out. Regardless though, I made it through! 

How could things be improved for queer creative young people in Cumbria? 

I think better more reinforced education about acceptance, tolerance and embracing the knowledge that everyone is different is a PERFECT START! 

Who are your idols?

I have specific idols for specific interests. For instance if it’s relating to music, then Dua Lipa! But if it’s art related then Hannah Höch and Paul McCarthy.

What are your dreams and aspirations as an artist?

I don’t have any specific dreams as of this very second. From the 2020 Pandemic, I have learnt specific dreams can sometimes be a hindrance due to the unpredictable nature of our world.

If you could share a Spag Bol with three people who would they be and why?

I love Spaghetti Bolognaise so I wouldn’t want to share it. I’ll happily pay for three other people to have their own but I don’t wanna share the Spag Bol.

Where can we expect to see you in 5 years? 

In 5 years, I hope to be fusing the world of art and performance together! Exploring queerness, makeup, puppetry, music, theatre and just a little bit of everything! 

How can we best keep track of what you’re doing as an artist?

To best keep track of my ART, follow me at ‘aidansartx’ on Instagram! Thank you! X

Interview by Stevie

Images by Aidan