Artist's Statement

Tommy Bruce

My work stems from my identification as a member of the Furry community. Furries are a niche subculture who create and identify with anthropomorphic animal characters. We use these avatars as outlets for escapism, social interaction, and identity-play. My character—the subject of my recent work—is a white-tailed deer named Atmus. This identity, which in my youth felt like an embarrassing social inversion, seems now more like a necessary coping mechanism for the anxieties of contemporary life. This niche subjectivity also functions like a lens for me to examine culture. Through my Furry persona I’m able to explore my (generational) alienation from nature, fascination with media, desire for self-invention, and dissatisfaction with reality. In the decade that I have been making work with and about this community my work has ranged from documentary and portrait photography to digital collage, video and live performance work. Throughout I maintain an interest in the figure and cultural comment.