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Stevei - Butch on Butch

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[00:00:00] This program is brought to you by pride nz.com [00:00:05] Stevie you were one of the participants and the Butch Butch project, which involves you having a photo going up and in having some words that you wrote to go with the photo. Can you just let us know why you became involved in it particular project? [00:00:25] Um, well, initially, I was approached obviously by yourself [00:00:30] to be a part of the exhibition, very cautiously, obviously, because we weren't sure whether identified books when you first approached me at that didn't set very well, I was, I was kind of not offended, but a bit shocked. Because, you know, just by some mind, I'm thinking and so what I did was in pen back at you and said, well as multi woman, you know, we're not brought up thinking or having having those words, within our daily life, you know, we use with like, YEXE true, which talks about us being quite capable woman woman that are able to move, you know, fluidly through male and female roles if it's needed specially on the mother, is it true? So I came back at you and asked whether you would agree to photograph me based on that the more that you know, I'm whiny tour. And for me, you know that that encompasses a lot of what people perceive Butch, Butch women or watch people to be. [00:01:44] Yeah, it was it was kind of a lesson for me because it was right at start of the project and I think after speaking with you that was when I stopped actually approaching people and just put the word out so I really thank you for having done that because there was a big learning curve for me but um, but uh, well well worth it anyway. Stevie Are you able to just tell us a little bit about yourself and where you grew up and you a bit about your photo and so [00:02:10] yeah, I'm I'm a [00:02:14] an artist [00:02:16] mostly deal with class I molecule I click them Congo ku. 35 years old and I grow up and cannons Creek and put it on my farm Oh is from hex beta enter also not Pro. And we come from a very strong family in we're chief wine. I'm one of eight children and the Stephen Stephen Lyft. And but I'm the only child to my mom and dad. so weak that one good QE family. I was sports sports person and another life play softball in the states and for New Zealand. And yeah, and then retired from that and decided to follow my dream as matters which I'm doing today. So [00:03:12] and what direction is your ads going in? [00:03:17] At the moment I'm working on I use Klay light as a fiddle skin. So it's just a natural progression and to titling so. topical, obviously, but based on my work with the clay, I'm actually I max I take Pacific patterns that people might say it's been very Pacific Island rather than moldy. But I take it that, you know I look at patterns that we would have used before we got to New Zealand you know before and now to at all and also there's so many commonalities. It's just the way we put things together. So doing that on the skin has always been a dream of always wanted to be a tattooist. Yeah and I'm by using the word Tito rather than Tom uncle. I think there won't, won't be put into such a tight box as well. You know, settle allow me to be more of who I am to, you know, especially being a openly gay Mahdi artist as a big thing. It's not something that's that's openly talked about. Or you know, acknowledged. So yeah, so, being a tattooist allows me to be who I am really? Yeah. [00:04:31] How was it for you, as you were growing up identifying is, is gay. [00:04:39] I probably have a mana so I knew very early in life, probably, I don't know, around five years old, I think my earliest memory. When I when I was six, my parents split up and I love with my dad and take a brush my hair, so my long hair got cut off. Probably, I was probably hippie with it as well. And my dad would take me to, you know, farmers and dress me and boys clothes, you know, and it was just something, you know, I had always I loved it, because I didn't like wearing dresses, because it just didn't fit with me, you know, I'm always out there playing around. But what I did find that, you know, I had experiences like pain pains, because I was so afraid to go to the bathroom and places because the woman would tell me off and tell me to get out of the toilets. You know, because I was a boy, you know, and having to explain that I was a girl. And that's quite terrifying when you're a kid, to have those experiences, I used to hold on as much as I could, you know, not to have to experience it from adults. So it was quite daunting and a horrible experience for me. But also, they were a lot of advantages. You know, I learned a lot of things that I probably wouldn't have learned. You know, my dad was a very first so I linked to do things with my hands and years, so, but my mom was a strong woman to associate taught me on the other end of things to be really strong. [00:06:09] Marty Marty Gill. [00:06:12] Yeah. Didn't seem to you that you did was just being really supportive of you being you. [00:06:18] Um, I'm not sure sure. I've never thought of that. I know that when I finally did come out. I was in my early 20s. I just came back from the States. He cried. Apparently, you know, he thought it was his fault, actually. Because of the way he brought me up, you know, because I'd love with him. And he he brought me out the only way he knew, you know, it wasn't great. But at the same time, you know, well, it's made me who I am today. So you know, all your experiences and the childhood and teenage years. Mike, who you are so yeah. [00:06:54] And in the States, you're playing softball. Tell us a little bit about that and how things were different you because it's a bit of a be you might not identify directly as butcher is a bit of a butcher enclave for that one. [00:07:09] Yeah, I was actually straight when I left New Zealand. Well, they saw people think. But yeah, I'm going to the states and people not knowing me and who I was other than being a soft bowler. You know, that allowed me to probably for the first time in my life. [00:07:30] They will who I wanted to be and I. [00:07:33] So I pretty much Well, I suppose it couldn't be can't come out of no one knows who you are. But I'm here. So I started saying woman and came out in the States. But I was I was here for two years and then hit come back to New Zealand and find a place to go gauntlet of family and friends. So yeah, that was that was an interesting experience. But yeah. Because I played softball, you know, and university and also some mobile. You know, you I knew a lot of girls that were gay there and they're married now, you know, I think it was because it's such such an intense environment because you would the same people constantly. So it was interesting was very different kind of community from New Zealand guy community, which I had always been a part of 30 softball and New Zealand playing woman's ball from the age of 12. you're exposed to it really alien? And my my dad some brothers. Okay. So, you know, so it was never something we didn't talk about within our family. But yeah. So by being in the States, and yeah, it was interesting experience just in general. I think in Baynham University, you know, the stuff you see in the movies, it doesn't really happen. [00:08:57] So but yeah, and so [00:09:01] it's not wasn't it's not really typically a bush sport and the states because I think for, you know, a lot of a lot of guilds over there, you know, your, your 22 year at university is still really under the thumb of your family. So you're playing the game, you know, you're you're being very feminine, etc. So it wasn't actually till I came back to New Zealand, that you started to see that with a softball players be more budget, but at the same time, we used to just think we're all just athletic. You know, we're sporting people. So we didn't ever see that, Tim, so for us, the Butch ones were the ones that play for the Amazons. And those are the ones that we stayed away from because no way will we put a lesson there, you know, and before I came out, none of us were gay. And I think at one point might be one of the teams I've played for maybe in the end, 10 out of 14 of us ended up being gay. So, you know, it was definitely a stigma thing that none of us wanted to go near it all in. And I think that, probably, it it shaped my thinking, because I really wanted to avoid that I didn't like to be associated as being but you know, it's, it's a very recently probably, that I feel comfortable. Even just being around that Butch woman, and if have been people maybe think I am as well, you know, there was something that was really conscious of, you know, maybe some I'm not a proud of, but also, you know, you, your environment shapes your thinking and what you think. And yes, so yeah, this was a good exhibition. For me, actually, it meant that I needed to really step outside of my comfort zone to be a part of it. Yeah. [00:10:54] Did you get feedback from friends about being in it, and what you'd said about being in? [00:11:02] It was an interesting topic to bring out with people. It was quite interesting, because it made me realize, too, that my perception of myself where I think everyone thinks I'm Butch because you know, you're in the store, and I don't even look at you, and they like, and I help you see. And I think sometimes it's only because of my size, because I'm tall and broad. And so, you know, a lot of them really Oh, but you're not much. And so that was really interesting. Yeah, it was quite nice. Because but you know, I know this sounds ridiculous. But yeah, it made me see that. Oh, you know, just because you may think that you have that opinion that everyone thinks you're Butch, you know, because you don't really close knit that the society's not is small minded. Well, maybe, you know, just I have some good friends. Yeah, so But no, they were quite supportive. And they thought it was really brave. And they were actually quite interested in the concept. And, you know, I went on a artist across culture, exchange, and Australia. And I was telling some of the other female multi artists about this exhibition the night, they were really interested, they want to see photos, you know, and I really liked the way that I approached you, you know about the YE tour, and they actually started conversations with us about what we see what wine the toys, and what people perceive Butch to be, in general, you know, which is, you know, the questions that you are asking, and the solution, you know, so yeah, and I was saying, Well, what is Butch you know, and these are these will straight woman, you know, so it was a really cool way of starting dialogue. And so they, they, they were quite supportive. And then they saw the photo, and they really liked it. So they thought it was cool. Especially having been dressed up in a more traditional way is well, maybe we think whiny tours, you know. So having that having been various biases in time, Mickey and [00:13:06] was called cos costume at thank, yes. [00:13:10] Can you talk about some of the way that you were dressed for it? Because you definitely had certain symbols and things with you? Yeah, can you just talk to it a bit. [00:13:21] So I taught when i when i, [00:13:25] we confirm the concept. So I went to Suzanne and talk to her about it. And we thought, right, well, we're gonna dress me up as a female warrior, you know, so I brought with me I had a bout that was made in the old, old waving tradition. And they would have used that in the old days to put the tattoos etc. And, and it was with wraparound so that particular juul, kidneys, etc, if you were attacked, so I was dead in my head, some of Susan's blankets on and I had a pew pew that actually I've had since I was a little kid that was given to me by my grandmother. So that was really special to be able to wear and then we just had some grains Purnomo on and bone padding. So we just really dressed up, you know, it may not have been typically traditional, but it was, you know, was a concept in my head was wearing a white coat. So that was kind of a monkey to the whole colonized era, which is one of Susan's specialties. Yeah. And then I hit my hair out. So it was quite interesting, because we wanted to dress me and I really strong, you know, YE near tall way, but it was actually probably the most feminine. I've looked in a very long time, which was quite amusing for Suzanne, NU. [00:15:00] Just talking BIT MORE ABOUT YOUR at D, the expressions of masculinity and femininity, and how does it flow for you? Or Or does it? [00:15:12] Yeah, well, [00:15:15] we've always labels always brought up, you know, things, the world's always gotta be balance. And so you always do need a masculine with your feminine. In life, when I've done shows or bodies of work. I've always made sure this is my work is very female, directed. But there's always got to be an element of masculinity, and whether it's a male object or sculpture in some sense, or if it's just a more masculine female directed sculpture. So yeah, I think that's really important. And I think Plato's scene is quite hard, but can be also very soft material. So yeah, so it's very evident to my works. What are your plans for the future? What do you got coming up. [00:16:12] And April, I'm actually off to the states again. [00:16:16] And I'm heading over to Santa Fe, to stay on the Santa Clara reservation, which is the Pueblo Native Americans. And it's under an internship with a foundation over there, where you work on the land, and you learn about permaculture and you learn about the traditional ways that they planted the crops, you know, how they click this seeds, being on a reservation, they actually are exempt in the states from having to use genetically modified seeds. So they use the old seeds they use, you know, they're, they're growing crops it, you know, go right back. And in that in the continuing because the other thing is you're not allowed to stop, stockpile seeds over there as well. So, you know, it's, it's, it's, it's real. So that in itself is gonna be a privilege. And then it'll be working, fixing and building Adobe housing, and just helping out in the community, etc. So that's one side of it. But the other side of it is I'll be working with an artist. Rose, being someone who's actually the daughter of a very famous sculptor named Roxanne's Wenzel MMO has been as very accomplished and has becoming quite famous in himself, and is actually an A movie that's been released this year called 1000 voices, which talks about a Native American woman, and how they were always told by the missionaries, etc, that they were equally mean, we're naturally before that, they actually had a belief that they were actually high in the men, they were the ones that own the land, they were the ones that were the land, they were the ones that were out with the crops and the animals, etc. So it's just talking about those old ways. And, and reclaiming that, which seems to be quite a big thing at the moment in the world, as we are woman is deciding that actually, you know, the world and again, that's the balance thing that the world's out of balance and to rebalance it, the woman have to now take control and heal it. And I know, even within Mali, them, they're starting to happen and teaching a woman that, you know, they're not crazy, or that they're hearing things that they're actually it's a spirit, you know, and healing this spiritual side. And I think that's quite important. So, just want to spread things. So what main roads are going to be doing is creating a body of work, which explores what well being to spirit, unless for the Native Americans, what they say is that a few gay, lesbian, transgender, etc, that you to spirit, so you have both the male and female element. And so we're going to be looking at that and took the top we which is the moldy word for, and how, how, how, how we can show that in a body of work, you know, you taking a negative, and a positive light union Yang and just exploring that and starting a conversation with clay, you know, using clay and middle together. And you in some ways, he knows the Pueblo culture in the multi culture so using place, so using topical, you know, on on her bodies of work and creating and what we want to do is a true create a body of work is an creating armor that can be worn, you know, that shows Tamika info, so she's she with her parents on his skin, which is not overly accepted. It's not. She's you know, she said to me, it's not traditional in the sense, but it does. And so what she's trying to do as a show the themes of what we want to do as path, those patterns and to enter the skin of these sculptures, you know, and just start huge conversations about it. [00:20:33] That sounds really exciting. Have you got other plans up beyond that? That's, you know, a couple of months and with it might take you or other plans for the future? [00:20:44] Well, what I want to do, because because I I did grow up in Polydor and I've come back to Polydor recently over Christmas, I want to actually come back to Polydor and I want to start working with the community. And I want to start giving back. And one of the things I've been talking to people about is, is going into some of the schools and teaching them how to start safe banks. You know, and and because you know, there's that whole thing at the moment and the primary schools where they growing the guns and they teaching the kids how to how to cook with what the growing you know, and I want to jump on board with it. But also I want to come back and I want to I want to keep the conversation going it mean roaster and do something back here and in something like that actually, Elizabeth kitty kitty of originally had the idea of in I think it still needs to be done as having an exhibition of female Marianas that are that are top the top way. And they are willing to say IN tuck top we never he never happened before. So there's never been an exhibition and she saw that so it's really who baby but I think it needs to be done. And I know that Plato was really interested in doing that sort of thing. Yeah, just working and maybe that could be something where, you know, Rose, hopefully could come over I know that next week at those Amir and Polydor said that he would be very very happy to endorse that he was really supportive of that and that's really important especially in our community that's very morning Pacific base. We are been tucked up we offer Phoenix as as alive and well. You know, it's very prevalent, it's very open. And we need you know, an ACC and wants to support it. [00:22:39] You've mentioned some people who are the influences around you right now who are those who are the people [00:22:47] at the moment. This is quite a few influences. Working with the clay I'd I was taught by an artist called retire. But one of my biggest influences and the person that are quite a Meyers Potter Camille, who, who probably is the first modern artists that I ever met that was openly gay, and they never had that, you know, and that's a part of who she is. It's not a thing. It's just she loves to live. And she and she really loved that whole concept of why he knew it all as well. And she was the person I actually spoke to before I agreed to do the photographic exhibition and you know in she did thank you because he needs there's no place for the word budget, you know, because there's more we're more than you know, not more than that but there's more to it you know, in these layers so why when it all really does does for us explaining you know, some model which you can't translate into English because you'd have to say 10 English words to get the real meaning of it. Yeah, so and Suzanne Tamaki went off of combat to Wellington and she's been really supportive of me coming back. She's doesn't do play or anything like that, but just an air ideal DIA's and who brave she's brave you know, she's quite brave and out there and and and it's Mikey may be a bit more brave and you know, and having his support again to do this exhibition was um, the Butch and Butch photographic exhibition was really yeah I don't know if I would have done it baby without here yeah and I'm also yeah always it part aka some I'm quite I'm think I'm part of the finish and so Margaret tolerance been really, really big and supportive support person for me, actually, in a lot of ways personally, and with my work. She's just really trying to push me to start, you know, exploring more and having more faith and my own work, etc. And she was actually the one that changed my perception of Butch woman, you know, taking it from a probably a naive thinking from my softball days, and being around her, you know, having been part of the Draft Kings, meaning meeting you through Margaret and, and others that were from Detroit, and also just other people within the community that they identify as, but, you know, and and realizing that there's more to them than what they you know, just locking and judging people on how they look. And I think we forget sometimes that although we don't want people to judge us, we judge others and always knew I was a bit of a hypocrite in that sense. So she really opened my horizons introduce me to more people, and it's in it's only been for the bitter really

This page features computer generated text of the source audio. It is not a transcript, it has not been checked by humans and will contain many errors. However it is useful for searching on keywords and themes.