Introducing Daniel Tyminski: a queer Illustrator exploring sexuality and mental health with art

Coming out is a unique experience for all kinds of queer people. For most of us it’s a repetitive event that happens over and over again. It’s scary, life changing but also liberating, expressive and a key part of accepting our queer identities.

For the Scottish artist Daniel Tyminski, his coming out story had its many ups and downs. After coming out to his mum at the age of 15, who said she always knew, it was his sister that it would have the biggest effect on.

“I think the greatest thing that’s happened since coming out is the influence I’ve had on my little sister: she’s 12 but she’s part of the LGBT group at her school because of me.” He says with a smile beaming on his face, “For her, it’s never been a big deal and is so accepting of people who are different.”

Daniel’s coming out and being proud of his sexuality opened up a conversation with his little sister, which gave her the chance to learn about the LGBT community and made her “such an accepting person – it makes me so happy.”

That’s what Daniel loves to do with his art too: create conversations. In a world surrounded by hierarchy, power trips and elitism, Daniel’s art shows the power of freedom, self-expression and self-acceptance.

Much of the Brixton-based artist and illustrator’s work fascinates itself with sex, the male body and queer culture. He describes it as “’gay trash’ – but I mean that in the best way: pink, glitter, naked men and sexuality. I use my illustrations as a way to talk about my sexuality, it pushes me to think about what I like, why I like it and to not be ashamed of what I like.”

Restraint #harness #scruff #gay #instagay #illustration #drawing #pink #love #monochrome #humpday #wednesday #instamood #instagood #instalike #design #style #like4like #london #londonlife #art #artist #picoftheday A post shared by dtyminskidraws (@dtyminskidraws) on Aug 30, 2017 at 2:33pm PDT

Picking up his phone in the busy coffee show just off of Oxford Street to show me some of his “kind of realistic and realism, very simplistic” artwork on Instagram, he tells me how he “hopes that when people look at my work they get a reaction to it.

“I would love to hear if someone hated my work because it means they had a reaction to it. That being said, I also really love hearing people say they love it.”

Illustration has a close place in Daniel’s work but the frustrating elitism annoys him: “Anyone can draw and create someone – anyone. All you have to do is do it! I don’t want my art to be elitist.”

However, within the LGBT there are many struggles. Growing up in school Daniel was bullied. After he came out in school, aged 14, “one guy in High School beat me up – but I think he would have done that if I had come out or not, they called me the same names before and after.”

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Mental health is clearly an important issue within the LGBT community. The statistics in research by LGBT charity, Metro, found that 42% LGBT reported had gone for medical help for mental distress.

Daniel suffers from anxiety and depression, so he is challenging himself to show in his artwork. He spoke about his daily struggles with them: “I’m constantly battling with my anxiety that’s telling me I’m not good enough and my depression telling me that it’s never going to get me anywhere.

“I remember a conversation I had with my mum, she said that art doesn’t make me happy. She was right, but it’s something that I have to do, I have an unconditional love for it.”

Added on top of this, Daniel comments on how he, at times, feels out of place within the LGBT community: “So many times, a gay friend has said to me I’m too straight but then my straight friends would say I’m too gay.” It’s a common issue in the community.

Femininity is still often seen as a bad trait whilst hyper-masculinity is the media’s ideal. This leaves many gay people feeling like they are not good enough: “That’s why I like the term queer so much. Queer has an identity to it, I much prefer talking about myself in terms of being queer over gay.”

Growing up, as other kids were outside playing in the streets, Daniel would be in his room scribbling away. Now, he hopes that his illustration work will get him to the point where he is able to create art every day. He has goals of having his own art studio in London and having the option to travel around with his pen and sketchpad.

“Although, I want a dog. Specifically, I want a greyhound – it’s the most hipster dog, a category I find myself falling into more and more. But I’m working up to that. At the moment, I have 7 pot plants, well they’re succulents, but I’ve have one for over a year and it’s still alive!”

You can buy Daniel’s artwork from his esty store here.

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Author: Darren Mew