Performer Dusty O finds new voice

New exhibition at the Brunswick Gallery

Monday, 1st November 2021 — By Isabelle Stanley


Dusty O at the Brunswick Gallery

WHAT do Cher, the Mona Lisa and the Queen all have in common? They all adorn the walls of a new exhibition at the Brunswick Gallery.

Dusty O, otherwise known as David Hodge, is a drag performer turned painter, writer and podcast host.

His fifth exhibition, Boy Who Sat by the Window, is a riot of colour, packed full of unusual but realistic portraits of the world’s best known faces.

He said: “I focused my attention on my social influencers of the time and the people whose lives turned out to guide my own route so forcefully. Some of the work has no story, it’s a reflection of a moment that is personal to me.”

Colour is hugely important to his work, he said, adding: “It plays a huge part in establishing the emotional tempo and is as important as the main focus itself.”

The inspiration for the show came during lockdown. Over the past year Dusty wrote his memoir, painted this collection and produced a podcast.

The name for the exhibition comes from his childhood. “I was always that boy who sat at the window, I didn’t fit in at school,” he said.

“I would never stop talking and they would say I was disruptive but I wasn’t. I was just a kid. It’s a story of a million people.”

He says the exhibition is his way of finding his voice again after stopping performing: “When I stopped my work in nightclubs five years ago, for problems with my mental health, I still wanted to find a way to say something. I still had something to say.”


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