The Dazed 100 alumnus debuts a new series of images that uses the Ken doll as its jump-off to talk about breaking down stereotypes

Photographer Quil Lemons has truly had a break-out year. Though he came to prominence via his GLITTERBOY series in 2017, where he painted black men in glitter makeup, this year the 22-year-old cemented his status as an emerging photographer.

“The highlight of my year was really just seeing my own personal growth as an artist,” Lemons, also a Dazed 100 alumnus, says. “To go from doing maybe one or two shoots a month to being able to do like eight or nine and have them all be strong and have their own identities, but still be cohesive, is something that I’m really happy to be able to do.” For this fourth quarter alone, the star has shot three magazine covers. 

But this year, Lemons was also definitively written into the canon. Antwaun Sargent’s The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion, writes a global generation of black photographers contending with fashion into history, and names Lemons among them. “To receive that recognition so young was really nice,” Lemons says. “So many black artists have to wait until they’re dead or damn near dead to receive that type of recognition. So I was happy that Antwaun took this moment seriously enough to put it in the canon.”

On December 14, Lemons will showcase this new series in a free group exhibition called Creator Labs. Shot entirely on a Google Pixel 4, BOY PARTS sees Lemons continue to investigate ideas surrounding black masculinity that served as jump-off points for GLITTERBOY and another series, PURPLE, while taking influences from artists such as Mapplethorpe and Kehinde Wiley.

BOY PARTS to me feels like an evolution, or an actualisation, of my talents,” he says. “I think (it) lives in this hyperrealist art space and world I’m creating for myself. Early on, I didn’t realise that’s what I was creating. I was just mixing the fantasies of what I’d wish life could look like with the mundane. There’s a lot of beauty in normalcy. There’s so much beauty in the ghetto and I wanted to hyperbolise that.”

As we debut the series here, Lemons talks more about the influences behind the images. – Read the full article at Dazed

“I took the Ken doll and I just destroyed it and reconstructed it, which is really what men have to do to find their own identity as a man” – Quil Lemons