|Christopher Winslow at his art opening at Magnet, the Castro‚Äôs cultural and medical center. Photo by Rink.
Throughout July, Magnet ‚Äď the Castro hub of health and well being for gay and bi men ‚Äď will display the art of Christopher Winslow, entitled ‚ÄúGames People Play.‚ÄĚ The artist explained, ‚ÄúGames bring communities together. They induce laughter and play. They remind us of the ‚Äėchild‚Äô within and give permission to express ourselves in non-conventional ways.‚ÄĚ The sculpture pieces in ‚ÄúGames People Play‚ÄĚ capture the fanciful play that happens when people engage in games. The paintings are not direct representations of actual games but rather a meshing of ideas from the games of our past, Winslow said. ‚ÄúMy intent is to remind viewers that laughter can often be the best medicine.‚ÄĚ Winslow is a multi-media artist and musician. He teaches music at Peres Elementary school in Richmond and sings bass with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus. He continues to compose music for the theater and is an Artist in Residence at ODC Theater. He said he wants to create more sculpture but requires a blowtorch. He is also leaning towards mobiles. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm drawn to color and shape,‚ÄĚ he added.
‚ÄúMy pieces just make me smile,‚ÄĚ he told me. ‚ÄúThis really is about living and laughing.‚ÄĚ His inspiration comes from young kids he teaches at school. He elaborated, ‚ÄúThere is a certain wonderful na√Įvet√© and beauty that goes with seeing kids when they‚Äôre innocent and playing, and I try to capture that.‚ÄĚ He said a lot of his works are from his childhood memories as well. ‚ÄúI want people who view my art to come away smiling,‚ÄĚ he said.
When asked his philosophy on life, he said, ‚ÄúLive each day like it was your last,‚ÄĚ which is perfectly illustrated by the last piece near the door on Magnet‚Äôs wall, ‚ÄúTo Do List.‚ÄĚ Originally it was a humongously huge blank, lined tablet page with space for people to use the provided color pens to add their personal lists of things to do on their last day on earth. The list is ‚Äúheld‚ÄĚ to the wall by a gigantic red papier mache push pin. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a reminder to make good choices instead of doing things you don‚Äôt want to do,‚ÄĚ he said. Check out what viewers wrote and add your own. My favorite was: ‚ÄúHave sex for one last time, so I could cum and go at the same time!‚ÄĚ
Going left to right on the wall, the first piece, ‚ÄúTwister,‚ÄĚ is layered acrylic on canvas. It is an abstract of the game where viewers can put their imaginary hands and feet on the squares to get all twisted up. We decided it was Naked Twister with cock rings. ‚ÄúCrossWord Puzzle (Sun, Moon, Stars)‚ÄĚ is collage on paper. It is taken from a Chinese textbook. ‚ÄúI asked myself, ‚ÄėHow would you do a crossword with all Chinese characters?‚Äô‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúSlinky‚ÄĚ is an abstract sculpture of the famous wire looped-ring toy. It needs proper lighting (as seen on Magnet‚Äôs wall) to reflect the shadow properly ‚Äď even overlapping the frame onto the wall. The yellow background is for fun and games in the sunshine.
‚ÄúCharades‚ÄĚ is a painting from a private collection and not for sale. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs really about the multi layers pressed up against the canvas,‚ÄĚ Winslow said. ‚ÄúIf you look at the shapes, what do you see? Are they telling you something?‚ÄĚ he asked. He instructed me to look carefully around the edges and hidden areas to see penises and balls. ‚ÄúI couldn‚Äôt call it ‚ÄėPenis and Balls, now could I? So I named it ‚ÄėCharades,‚Äô after the age-old parlor game,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúIt was how we might act with the world in our own charade.‚ÄĚ He paused to say, ‚ÄúNow that you‚Äôve made me think, I might rename it ‚ÄėKaleidoscope.‚Äô‚ÄĚ
The four little acrylic paintings are composed by first bending wire into shapes and then putting that onto wood to be traced. The wires were originally left on the piece, and he might just add then back at some point. I confessed that the painting with the brown face I had spied through a window in passing was Mr. Potato Head. ‚ÄúNow after your comment, I have to rename it,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúI called him ‚ÄėBobby,‚Äô but your title is better.‚ÄĚ He said perhaps in the future he would let people do the naming for themselves. ‚ÄúMaxine‚ÄĚ has just won a game of Yahtzee; Johnny ‚ÄúPick Me‚ÄĚ shows a young boy anxious to get picked for a sports game. We don‚Äôt know if he is gay, ‚Äúbut he does have a man purse,‚ÄĚ Winslow pointed out, adding, ‚ÄúI forgot to put Dolce and Gabanna on it.‚ÄĚ It‚Äôs up to the viewers to decide what a picture brings out for them. ‚ÄúI want people to have an interaction with the art; they can think they were someone like that or they know someone like that,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúChloe‚ÄĚ is saying, ‚ÄúReady or Not, Here I Come‚ÄĚ in a lively game of hide and seek.
‚ÄúBing-Bong,‚ÄĚ mixed media on canvas, is a clever combination of Bingo and Ping Pong, easily seen by the numbers, letters, and net full of colored balls.
ou can see the mobile fetish coming out of Winslow with the flying airplane and balls hanging above. ‚ÄúPete the Prankster‚ÄĚ is a freestanding found phone from the ‚Äė40s and ink on paper. This is reminiscent of every child who has ever called a stranger, pretending to take a phone survey and asking: ‚ÄúIs your refrigerator running?‚ÄĚ and when they answer in the affirmative, snapping, ‚ÄúWell, you better go catch it!‚ÄĚ and quickly hanging up with gales of laughter. He said one day he would like to have the piece with audio installed so people could pick the prank. ‚ÄúYou can really envision that devilish kid. Just look at that eye and that crooked smile,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúThe kid is saying, ‚ÄėI am being so naughty.‚Äô‚ÄĚ
You too can be naughty or nice in reliving your childhood memories with Winslow‚Äôs whimsical art at Magnet on 18th & Castro Streets.