Phoning it in

‘Love addict’ Robert Diago uses his iPhone to explore his art

rmateo_installation

INSIDER ART | Artist Robert Diago lies in a bed which is part of the installation for his new show, which addresses his love addiction — something that has occasionally played out on his iPhone hookup apps, opposite.

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

Cell phone attachment is hardly uncommon among gay men.

Whether on the treadmill, during happy hour or in the middle of a date, that lifeline to the ether is always at hand, ready to be texted, dialed or simply held for reassurance.

But when one local artist takes a call, it’s not his date or his workout but his art that likely is being interrupted. For him, a smartphone is as important as a brush.

“It was never a conscious thing to make art from it,” says Robert Diago, “but it’s become something I’m using to create art while feeding some of the art I’m dealing with.”

In his new show Every Then… And Now at Ro2 gallery, Diago (who writes his name professionally as r. mateo diago) exhibits work that peers deeply into his inner conflicts and addictions thanks to his iPhone. Simply by taking pictures with his phone of other photographs, Diago discovered and honed certain degradations that resonated with his messages.

“There were these strange patterns what would occur and even with those old photos, this gave them a very modern, contemporary touch,” he says.

But there was also an underlying theme emerging. While examining his past and his love addictions with old photos, he was using the very tool that made his addiction harder to handle.

Using a hookup app as inspiration, he created a piece called “Findr Night Lights.” Diago freely talks about his codependence, which has manifested into a love addiction. While he may act out on that in some sexual fashion, he’s discovered it’s rooted in a lack of love and nurturing not met in childhood.

At least, that’s what his therapist told him.

“I had a very good therapist,” Diago chuckles. “As a love addict, I’m looking for that missing piece. I’ve learned that I need to treat the codependent in me, not the addict.”

In turn, his artwork has become therapeutic, and he’s been able to address childhood issues such as his father’s abandonment and an abusive grandmother. He even turned the ending of his last relationship into a four-piece narrative. Unlike his last show, Diago’s intention here is to leave more to the imagination and allow viewers not just to see him, but also themselves.

06_FindR_nightlights_12x10_300“I felt like I spoonfed a little too much with [my show] Junk Drawer,” he says. “I thought to give less this time and start on some middle ground. The purpose of this show is to examine the buzzing in my head when it ingrained into my subconscious. I want everyone to take away from this that if you truly examine your thoughts, you can change the direction of your life.”

The Jersey-born Diago followed his then-partner to Dallas 16 years ago from Fort Lauderdale. Back then, art was a part-time gig, but when he was laid off from his job as a graphic designer almost four years, his partner encouraged him to focus on his art.

Fast-forward to today, and the reality of being a full-time artist is arresting. Diago is still on the hunt for employment and his own money goes more into his art and booking shows than coming in as a result of it.

“I think it was a good decision, but it’s very tough,” he admits. I will just continue to do this, but with no income to speak of, I don’t know what’s next. I’ll definitely go where the money is but I do hope this show could be great for me.”

If there’s one thing his art has given back to him, it is a sense of forgiveness. He can accept he won’t have a relationship with his father but he can use him for art. And he’s also forgiven himself.

“I love my journey. I chose all these unfortunate things and learned from them to create my work,” he says. “I came up against a lot of old demons in this work and was able to let go of them. It was one of the hardest things to do.”

There may not be an app for that, but Diago’s the man to ask how self-discovery can be found in an iPhone.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 13, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

Best bets • 12.16.11

Friday 12.16

This is a journey into solstice
The annual Winter SolstiCelebration has gotten so big, it’s now spread across two days. In its 19th year, the event uses music, dance, ceremony and more to observe the Winter Solstice. And don’t forget the Yule Fest. Canned food and winterwear donations are encouraged.

DEETS: Cathedral of Hope, 5910 Cedar Springs Road. 7 p.m. Through Saturday. $15. EarthRhythms.org.

……………

Saturday 12.17

Techie buzz art
Out Dallas-based artist R. Mateo Diago puts his vision on display in the new exhibit every then … and now in which he intergrates the iPhone’s capabilities into helping create his art. We might be able to take rad photos with apps like Instagram, but Diago uses it as a statement of people’s compulsion. Cool, right?

DEETS: Ro2 Art Downtown, 110 N. Akard St. Opening reception at 7 p.m. Through Jan. 28. Ro2Art.com

……………

Wednesday 12.21

On writing ‘Well’
Author Gregory G. Allen returns to Dallas from New York to sign his new book Well With My Soul about two brothers, one gay, coming to terms with each other. It even garnered a Lambda Literary nomination. Welcome home, sir.

DEETS: Krimson & Klover, 3111 Cole Ave., Ste 101. 5–7 p.m. GGAllen.net.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 16, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Holiday Gift Guide 2011 • Online Exclusives

LOOK BOOK

Spanning the glamour of the 1930s to the pop culture extremes of the 1980s, the new 600 page book Decades of Fashion is ideal for any lover of couture. The pictorial review of fashion through the 20th century covers corsets to kaftans and so much more. Decades of Fashion is priced at $14.99.

Available at Barnes and Noble locations and Amazon.com.


 

 

STAY!

These dogs will easily take to the stay command because they are made with iron. The taller dog is created from an acid wash iron that sits on wood. And its smaller cohort is bronze-finished on iron atop a marble base. The best part is — they don’t shed.The statues are priced at $120 and $95 respectively.

Nuvo, 3900 Cedar Springs Road.
214-522-6886. NuvoDallas.com.

 

NEVER GO SLEEVELESS

These iPhone sleeves come in bold colors that will make the phone an easy find when it slips out of sight. The sleeves are made of German merino felt with logo embossed leather detail. They are priced at $24.

Dallas Museum of Art Museum Store, 1717 N. Harwood St.
214-922-1255. ShopDMA.org.

 

 

DIVINE DISC
Taped before thousands in The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, the 70-minute cavalcade The Showgirl Must Go On features many of Bette Midler’s colorful and classic stage and screen characters.  Joining her on the gargantuan stage is an energetic corps of talented performers, including the staggering Harlettes, twenty dazzling dancers she calls The Caesar Salad Girls and a 13-piece band.  Ms. Midler’s superstar power shines in renditions of her immortal songs including “The Rose,” “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” “From a Distance,” “Hello in There” and “Wind Beneath My Wings.” The Showgirl Must Go On comes in DVD and Blu-Ray and priced at $19.98 and $24.98 respectively.

Available through Amazon.com.

 

HELLO CUPCAKE!

Whether serving them at a holiday party or giving as a gift, these are baked fresh upon order and delivered to your door. How easy is that?  And the tiny ones are like little stocking stuffers for your mouth. Dee-lish!

214-718-5814. MostlyCupcakes.com.

Don’t think that’s all there is. This year we’re doing something a little different. From Nov.  25 (Black Friday) to Dec. 16, we’ll be posting a gift-a-day to help with your holiday shopping decisions. From stocking stuffers to high-tech gadgets and everything in between, we’ll have gift ideas for everyone on your list.

—  Rich Lopez

Grindr pays respects to Steve Jobs

No doubt you’ve been either part of the public grieving process for Apple founder Steve Jobs, or have suffered through it. In our little way, we’re going to add to that. Of course, we appreciate that Jobs’ innovation allows us to do our jobs here at Dallas Voice, but why would you want to hear from us when you can hear from Grindr?

The app for locating a nearby potential hookup and the iPhone were a match made in heaven for gay men and led to similar apps like Scruff, Growlr and ReCon.

Grindr just posted the following statement from founder Joel Simkhai:

—  Rich Lopez

What’s Brewing: Youth pastor at anti-gay church says he had sex with boys to purify them

 

Brent Girouex

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. A former youth pastor at an anti-gay church in Iowa is charged with 60 counts of sexual exploitation after he told police he molested young males to purify them in the eyes of God. Brent Girouex, 31, of Victory Fellowship Church in Council Bluffs, said he wanted to help the victims with homosexual urges by praying while they had sexual contact with him, according to police. “When they would ejaculate, they would be getting rid of the evil thoughts in their mind,” Girouex allegedly told authorities. In 2010, Victory Fellowship Church used its website to call on people to oust three Iowa Supreme Court justices who voted to legalize same-sex marriage. Read more on Girouex’s church from Truth Wins Out.

2. Speaking of “ex-gay” therapy, Exodus International now claims its iPhone app isn’t designed to cure people of homosexuality. The group’s statement comes in response to a petition by Truth Wins Out — which now has more than 127,000 signatures — calling on Apple to remove the ex-gay app from the iTunes store.

3. A homophobic new ad (screen grab above) for the Brazilian liquor Cachaça Magnifica suggests that parents might need a strong drink after discovering their son is gay. Who the hell comes up with this shit? Answer: Agência 3, Rio.

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Craigslist congressman quits; iPhone confession app includes anti-gay query

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. New York GOP Congressman Christopher Lee resigned late Wednesday after Gawker reported that he sent a shirtless photo (above right) to a woman who’d placed an ad in the “Women Seeking Men” section of Craigslist. Lee, who is married and 46, told the woman in a series of e-mails that he was a 39-year-old divorced lobbyist. According to the Associated Press, Lee had cultivated a family values voting record since being elected to the House in 2008. With so many sexually repressed conservatives in Congress these days, we look forward to an abundance of stories like this one over the next few years, and we can only hope some involve lawmakers from Texas.

2. A new iPhone app that allows users to make Catholic confessions is under fire from LGBT advocates for asking, “Have I been guilty of any homosexual activity?” The app, “Confession: A Roman Catholic App,” is currently ranked No. 22 in sales worldwide. (INSERT PEDOPHILE PRIESTS JOKE HERE.)

3. On the local front, there will be no 7-11 at Oak Lawn Avenue and Gillespie Street, after a property owner withdrew the proposal in response to concerns from angry Oak Lawn residents. The property two blocks southwest of the Cedar Springs strip previously was home to Tony’s Wine Warehouse but has been vacant for the last two years. Nearby residents and businesses were concerned about the crime and late-night traffic a 7-11 would bring. Among other things, the compromise reached Wednesday ensures that most crime will continue to occur near the Valero on Cedar Springs instead.

—  John Wright

Gadget update: Calyp app

I’m getting ready to convert my lame-o cell phone into an iPhone for Verizon, so it occurs to me I can use more apps than the few piling up on my limited-use 8-gig iPod Touch. I want stuff that’s useful, like those apps that perform instant price-checks or get your GPS quickly or get you laid while in the Alps. (OK, maybe that’s just wishful thinking.) And I’m thinkin’ about Calyp.

Considering how addicted most people already are to “liking” people and events on Facebook and retweeting the interests of their friends and followers, the new app Calyp has an intriguing premise. The idea is to sign up at Calyp.com or download the free app from the Apple store. If I understand it right, you then select your interests and hobbies (say, indie music or eating out). The site then pairs up its clients with your interests; if you like the item the client suggests — say, 20 percent off a dinner at your favorite restaurant — you simply share that will others in your social media network. You earn points for the number of hits and click-throughs you get as a result. Points accrue toward credit on a Visa debit card you can use anywhere.

Does it make you a bit of a shill? Mebbe. But if you really like the stuff, it’s a way to share your likes with others. It’s like Groupon, only you benefit from sharing it. (Just like Groupon does, come to think of it, only you don’t have to buy anything — others do.) And hey, if I can defer some of the cost of that new iPhone, all the better.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Can’t afford $1,500 to see Prince on Super Bowl weekend? There’s an app for that

Remember that Goss Michael Foundation event I blogged about? You know, that “all-inclusive soiree” Prince is headlining with Erykah Badu as part of the Super Bowl fesitivites? Yeah, so I kinda winced that the $1,500 price tag was the cheapest seat for theEvent (which is also the name of the, um, event). The show is a benefit for the foundation’s scholarship fund they award to area students pursuing an arts education.

Well, there might be a legit way around that. I received an email that the Calyp app is giving away tix to the show with a few simple requirements. Such as:

Participants are automatically entered to win this once in a lifetime experience by simply “liking” them at Facebook.com/CalypEndorsers and downloading the free Calyp app from the iTunes App Store or Android Market by Monday January 31, 2011. Winner will be chosen at random and will be announced Tuesday February 1, 2011.

So, excuse me for a sec while I grab my iPhone.

—  Rich Lopez

The Nooner: Verizon iPhone; Chisum drops out of speaker’s race; Log Cabin presses DADT lawsuit

Warren Chisum

Your lunchtime quickie from Instant Tea:

• Log Cabin presses ahead with DADT lawsuit.

• Anti-gay State Rep. Warren Chisum drops out of speaker’s race, will vote for incumbent Joe Straus.

What it would cost you to switch from AT&T to Verizon, which will begin selling the iPhone in February.

• Transgender vets push for military access.

• Watch live: Texas Legislature convenes.

—  John Wright

Antigay iPhone App Rejected a Second Time

Apple has maintained its ban on the “Manhattan Declaration” application for a second time, despite protests and appeals by Christian groups.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  admin