Access2Arts is thrilled to celebrate Richard Boyle (aka The Gay Hooker), a self-taught, gay, disabled fibre artist designs and makes crocheted dolls. Keep reading to learn more about Richard and his incredible art.
I’m Richard Boyle, aka The Gay Hooker. I am a self-taught fibre artist who designs and makes crocheted dolls based on LGBTQ+ icons and queer characters of my own creation. I also make dolls for stop-motion animated films, one of which was a finalist in this year’s Tropfest Junior short film competition.
My experiences as a gay, disabled artist have been overwhelmingly positive. The attention my dolls have received has been a great way for me to meet people and connect with my various communities. With the rise of nerd-culture and queer characters in media and the development of various social media platforms like Reddit and online marketplaces like Etsy, I feel like a space has been created for artists to explore a more light-hearted approach to the art they make.
With the help of Access2Arts and the Adelaide City Library I have been able to take part in this year’s Feast Festival and will be running a number of doll-making workshops and seminars as well as exhibiting my dolls. This is a wonderful opportunity for me to learn new skills and to share my experiences and my knowledge of fibre-arts with others
What moment of your career you are most proud of?
Through my work with the Migration Museum, several of my dolls were purchased for the History Trust of South Australia’s permanent collection. These items were the first Gay/LGBTQ+ items to be included in the collection and led to other projects with the Migration Museum which focus on Queer History.
What advice would you give to other disabled artists who are seeking to also display their art form?
I would recommend reaching out to your community. There are great services like Access2Arts who can provide you opportunities to connect to the art and disability community as well as galleries like the Bearded Dragon and exhibitions which showcase works by disabled artists.
What goals are you looking to achieve as an artist?
I’m currently studying visual arts at the Adelaide College of the Arts and I’m enjoying exploring different mediums and spending time with other developing artists. In the future I look forward to developing my connections with the arts, queer, and disabled communities and being able to share my knowledge and experiences through my art. I also hope to publish my crochet patterns for others to make and enjoy.
Do you have a muse?
One of my muses is the Australian Icon, Jeannie Little. Growing up, her appearances on the Midday Show were the best part of having to miss days of school. I’m also a huge John Waters and Divine fan, I once crocheted a Divine doll which I was able to give to John when he was in Australia for his ‘This Filthy World’ show.