"How Do You Want Me? is a series of eleven life-size photographs - a portrait gallery of inherently sinister figures - corrupt kings, tyrants and bandits, all carrying regalia of State. Each is a demonic Nemesis, a threat to the state made flesh. You can feel the power of the characters, and at the same time their impotence, decay and perversion. Like many tyrants, they contain the seeds of their own destruction. I literally put myself inside of my own work, and presented the characters as they would have wanted. I felt I was acknowledging the potential for violence within each of us.
"I am fascinated by the idea of a messed-up kind of beauty.
I'm interested in extreme street fashion and ideas of masculinity. I remember a Nigerian man wearing a shocking pink baby-lace outfit at Heathrow Airport. In Brixton, a guy wearing a black denim two-piece all covered in orange fluorescent skulls, and another man wearing a vivid lime green sequinned suit.
There were famous mad-men walking the streets of Georgetown in my childhood, with names such as Mary Bruk-Iron, Law and Order, and Walker the British. It was their appearance that fascinated and scared me as a child. In a conservative society they had a complete disregard for the social norms of dress. They created their worlds, which they lived in.
"It is also a response to the art world’s privileging of one type of ‘authenticity’ over another, as it trawls the globe looking for sexy ‘undiscovered’ talent. How Do You Want Me? is the question many people ask when having their portrait taken at a high-street photographer. How should they pose in order to be acceptable? I am saying – OK – if this is how you want your black artists to be – then I can project that image for you." - Hew Locke
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