PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Dallas May 2023

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In a guest bedroom, a painting with a sculpture installation by Julien Ceccaldi. Custom nightstands. DWR pillows. Sconce by Jessi Reaves. the world when you are not considered part of society's ideal of a person," Fitzsimmons says. For some, this might be the stuff of nightmares: Over the couple's bed hangs a large painting of a serpent with a woman's face, slithering out of the jungle. Painted by Puerto Rico-based artist Dalton Gata, it's at once beautiful, lush, and alarming. "He paints surreal fantasies from the gaze of a queer person living in the Caribbean," Fitzsimmons says. "It's not a voice you hear a lot from in America." One of Fitzsimmon's favorite pieces takes up an entire wall in the guest bedroom. It was created by Canadian artist Julien Ceccaldi, whose "manga-inspired style applies fairy- tale distortions to millennial culture," according to a feature about the artist on the Art Basel website. Here, the work features a woman kneeling before a half- dressed skeleton, seemingly caught in a sex act, the moment illuminated by a spotlight. Says Fitzsimmons, "Manga is very heteronormative in many ways, so he queers them — addresses desire, beauty, indulgence from a queer perspective." The painting is set in an alley, so the artist has also created an installation around it that includes garbage cans, bagged trash, and a discarded Starbucks cup, among other detritus. By contrast, they've draped the bed in an elegant hand-embroidered coverlet. "This plays to the idea of high and low — pairing something challenging and conceptually rigorous with something totally decorative," he says. Past, Present, Future Both Fitzsimmons and Scott relate to the outsider experience. They grew up as LGBTQ men in rural Southern communities — Fitzsimmons in "a pumpkin patch in Central Texas" and Scott, as a Cherokee citizen in Oklahoma. Art became not only a way out, but a way in. Fitzsimmons studied art history in college, then headed for New York and L.A.; Scott pursued law school, where he 61

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