It’s all your favorite Disney princess – Eric! Philip! Aladdin! Charming! – reimagined as queer by the artist YANN-X. Huffington Post editor James Michael Nichols sat down with him to discuss the origin of these images and see what he’s trying to accomplish with them.
The Huffington Post: Why did you decide to start making these images?
YANN’X: My first childhood memory was going to the movie theater with my dad to watch “Snow White.” I was three years old and it hit me like a truck, because Prince Charming — so gentle, yet so manly — thrilled me in a way I never felt before. I had fallen in love! From this moment on I dreamt of becoming an artist (and work for Disney, of course!). Years later, artists like Joe Phillips or David Kawena inspired me anew with their radiant vision of a gay life, as normal and happy as a straight one… and no matter how idealistic, I wanted to be a part of this.
Let’s be clear: naked Disney characters are nothing new. Everyone can do (or has done) it, but it’s not what I’m into. What I’m trying instead is to take highlights of our pop culture and show them from another point of view. Twisting well-known situations can be quite unsettling for people but I enjoy it. That’s what I’m aiming for. So if it moves you or makes you smile, then I’ve done my job well. Love it or hate it, I’m fine with both, for the worst would be to leave you cold. But when I use nudity, it’s never as a shock value — things should be sexy, funny, not pornographic. It’s a matter of honor.
Are you trying to subvert traditional Disney storylines and values through these photos?
I’m not trying to subvert! I’m just showing these characters in a new light, thus suggesting to look at life in a different way. People are free to try or not, I’m not forcing anyone.
Of course, Disney characters are icons of our collective memory, so tapping that source is like using a universal language — it’s a way to make sure everyone will get my message. So, I give these characters a private life, let them flirt, make love or have fun, not for cheap thrills but as a way to reflect on our feelings and intimacy.
I also often pictured them as real actors whose lives had little to do with their parts, and I wondered what happened once their scene or the movie was over… But yes: in my imagination, they’d shed their perfect image and dump their princess girlfriends to fool around with the other boys.
Read the entire interview here.