A country considered by many to be a seat of progressive thought and acceptance, Denmark’s proud capital Copenhagen has had a long history of diversity. Over the years, as a form of cultural and individual expression, graffiti has been a steadily growing medium all over town. In fact, the tagging of the Danish State railway cars is so common, that passengers are more likely to notice its absence.
However, there has been an interesting trend in the graffiti of late. There has been many S-trains, park walls, tracks and posts tagged with the provocative art of one man who is called EDES (an acronym for “Evil Duck Eat Sperm”). His tagging is riddled with rainbows, as he is a gay man. However, he has been creating art full of a message he is not afraid to share. For along with rainbows, he colors these structures with images of many a penis, hairy derrieres, and cum shots of his slogan “I always feel like straight bashing.”
EDES states that his mission is to ridicule homophobia. In an interview with Vice Denmark’s writer Lars Jellestad, EDES discussed his repressed Christian upbringing, his sexuality, and his message. When he came out in 2008, EDES was already tagging, but his experience with being a gay man in an intolerant religious culture arguing against gay marriage made him angry. He channeled his frustration into his art. In 2012 he developed his new artistic platform, depicting pastors with rainbow glasses, and not too long thereafter, he began spraying dicks and asses in all of his pieces.
When asked who he is now targeting in his newer pieces, EDES stated “Homophobes, in a word. I’m actively trying to provoke them and I’m doing it by transforming gay bashing into straight bashing, by slathering homosexuality all over and shoving it in their faces.” He is well known in the graffiti world, but otherwise goes by his nickname to maintain anonymity. Graffiti is still a crime, even in Denmark. His art definitely stands out from the rest, but he states “I have to really hit a nerve to get reactions. If I’m too PG, my work will drop below the radar.” Since his mission is to make people think, but it is also to be “edgy and funny,” hence the cartoons.
Admitting that his work is also a form of self-help, giving him an outlet for the years he repressed his sexuality, EDES also admits he relishes in the shock value of his art. He does not approach activism in a traditional fashion as he believes the homophobia prevalent in society comes from the “fringes of society,” who don’t respond to “slapping some article in the paper.”
EDES plans to change the stereotypes and premature judgments of gay men, stating that he wants to change specifically the image that “homosexuals are automatically weak people. Even if you’re gay, you can still charge headfirst into a fight, help your friends and be a tough son of a bitch.”
Charge on EDES, charge on.