Rupert Tuesday is a fine artist and performance artist from South East London, performing under the stage name CHUB RUB. Rupert uses He/Him pronouns. He is currently in his third year of studying English Literature at the University of Sussex, where he intends to carry out an MA in Sexual Dissidence. Rupert describes his art as an exploration of his relationship with his body as a fat, queer, transgender man living with trauma and mental illness.
Which medium or media is most integral to your artistic process? Why is this?
I began trying to paint realistic bodies but have since taken an interest in cartoon-like drawings and textiles. Most of my work is made using readily-available and recycled materials such as cardboard packaging. My self-portraiture process begins with pictures or videos of myself, which I then try to recreate. I rely heavily on filming myself for my performance too. It enables me to look at myself in different ways; I’ve realised that I don’t exactly paint or draw myself, but rather use my body as a framework for drawing other characters or versions of myself.
What would you like to communicate through your art?
That all bodies are of value. I want to use my art to represent others like me. I want to communicate that we shouldn’t be limited to other peoples’ perceptions of our bodies, and that you should create your own rules about your body. I grew up being told what to do and what not to wear, and that my fatness was shameful. My art separates me from this, creating a space where fat bodies are beautiful. Whilst painting my body I use soft lines and bright colours, and see a beauty that I can’t whilst looking at myself in mirrors or photos.
You’re involved in both fine art and performance art. How do both of your artistic practices inform one another?
At the moment, they very much go hand in hand. The colours and angry expressions I use in my art tend to show up in my performances. I make my own props, and my drag is very visual. My last performance featured a lot of pink gunge which was very fun. It drew from a series of photographs I took for Kiloran Mag (@kiloranmag) about being a feminine trans man, where I ate flowers and barbie heads.
What has been the highlight of you artistic and performing career?
It was probably my first performance at Fat Cabaret (@fat_cabaret). The space that they create is indescribable. I was terrified, but the love I felt from a room full of other fat people watching me felt like I wasn’t being watched at all. Performing there is so different from anywhere else, where I often feel glared at. I have to be careful where I perform and often prefer smaller spaces. Suffering from anxiety and stress, this is very important to me.
Who are the artists that inspire your work and why?
Most of my inspiration comes from Instagram where I have found a whole movement of incredible fat artists such as Chloe Swords (@fat_utopia), who has made some amazing work using fat suits. One of my favourite artists is photographer Lauren Crow (@4locrow), whose exploration of intimacy has been really important to me; I love their use of colour and their style really speaks to me. My recent drawings have been heavily influenced by the work of Charline Bataille (@charlinebataille), their angry-looking femme characters are what I’ve always wanted my drag persona to emulate. Laurence Philomene (@laurencephilomene) often features orange wigs in their work, inspiring my drag persona’s orange hair. I particularly like their non-binary portrait series, which they’ve described as a way of representing unrepresented non-binary individuals. Amongst the countless performers who inspire me, Max Legroom (@max_legroom) is one of my favourites. His sense of humour and style is unique to his persona, something I hope to one day achieve in my own drag.
Do you have any ongoing or future plans for your artwork?
I would like to show my work in an exhibition space, rather than displaying it at drag shows. I hope to keep intermingling my fine art and performance. I am currently working on a felt patch series about a breakdown I had recently, and would like to begin telling the stories of my self-inspired characters. Hopefully being more open in my work about my mental illness will provide a way for me to do that.
Words: Elizabeth Richardson