PARALLEL UNIVERSE is a limited edition book of photography and artworks emerging from the intimate eight-year collaboration between avant-garde queer performance legend David Hoyle and acclaimed London performance photographer Holly Revell. As well as more than 300 extraordinary unpublished images of David backstage and on stage, the book features over 25 unique artworks created by David especially for the book, and texts by Lois Keidan (Live Art Development Agency), David's curator Paul Darling and David's friend and director Nick Blackburn.
David Hoyle has been bringing his message on the trouble with gender and other political issues to audiences since the 1990s. Without him the gender fluid drag we have become accustomed to in recent years might not exist. He has been a major influence and inspiration, he is an icon and there is nobody like him, it’s about time someone made a book on him, so here we are!
Born in 1962 in Blackpool, Hoyle was relentlessly bullied as a child for his effeminacy. At school, both pupils and teachers alike tore into him for years and he later described his journeys to school as akin to walking daily “to his own execution”.
It was in the gay clubs of Manchester that he developed the character that was to be known as “The Divine David” – an “anti-drag queen” who combined “lacerating social commentary” with “breath-taking instances of self-recrimination and even self-harm”. This character was so popular that it was only a matter of time before he was doing runs of shows in London theatres and clubs which saw television companies suddenly seeking him out and in the late 1990’s he produced two series for the UK’s Channel 4 – “The Divine David Presents” and “The Divine David Heals”...
However this kind of success was not for him and he killed of the Divine David in a performance on an ice rink… after some time out he returned to London's stages as himself David Hoyle... (there will be a full bio by Paul Darling in the book). Some key venues David has played include The Royal Vauxhall Tavern, The Bethnal Green Working Men's Club, (which are well documented in the book), The Southbank Centre, and Soho Theatre in London along with Contact Theatre in Manchester.
Who the F**K is Holly Revell?!
I found my place on the queer underground performance art circuit in London 10 years ago making my mark with my ‘DARKROOM’ photobooth installations which offered audiences at art and cabaret events a 'live photographic experience', and this is how I first photographed David when he ventured in and posed for me in the nude with Ashley Ryder a mutual friend back in 2010.
David then invited me to do my installations alongside him at his shows at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, in the toilets or 'The Parallel Universe' as he called it (hence the book title) with Pam Lustgarden assisting. It wasn't long before I started to turn my camera onto the maestro himself.
My relationship with David has continued to develop through an ongoing performance to my camera and having spent so much time sharing the intimacy of his dressing room, the photographs have become more and more personal and raw. They document the highs and the lows of his performance processes from the calm at the start of the night when it feels like I’m getting a one on one show never quite knowing if we’re having a ‘real’ conversation or if it’s preparation; I love it when the dialogue unfolds on stage… to the animated character shots when David is high on adrenalin and in full performance mode to the raw exhaustion and anti-climax that can sometimes follow a mind blowing show. David Hoyle is a force of nature, powerful, political, hilarious and articulate, yet vulnerable to the core and the book aims to get across the whole story.
The photos in the book are also a record of the many wonderful costumes and make-up applications that David parades, with the talented hand of Thom Shaw, who is responsible for a lot of the 'macquilage' and pulling together David’s DIY looks, appearing throughout. David also wears Rick Owen’s fashions in a series of the images like nobody else has.
In addition to the photo-collages, David himself has made over 25 textual artworks specifically for the book which deal with recurring themes from his life and therefore his shows such as homophobia and love, some of them are diaristic and were written on his journeys from London back to Manchester after the show.
The book - The campaign - What the funding is for
With your help I plan to make a beautiful high quality professional self-published limited edition photobook which reflects the love that has gone into making the individual photo collages and artworks. It will be an important document recording a valuable piece of queer history and an inspirational memento of an icon to be enjoyed and relished by David’s amazing fan base, to share within and beyond our community and to be passed on to future generations. The work has been described as a 'feast', 'an explosion' as 'you dive into David's world'.
The Book - (First edition 500 copies)
- 300mm width x 220mm high
- Hardcover in landscape format
- Roughly 132 pages on white silk paper
- Over 300 unpublished and mostly unseen colour photos by Holly Revell made into photo collages incorporating ephemera and fabrics from David’s outfits and shows.
- Artworks by David Hoyle
- Texts by Paul Darling (David’s friend and curator), Nick Blackburn (David’s director and friend) and Lois Keidan (LADA) and quotes from David’s friends and colleagues.
I'm working with Kickstarter because it seems to be a great platform which puts the power back into the hands of the creator and the audience, and I'm really excited about the rewards I can offer to make this as fulfilling for you as it is for me! Along with self-publishing which carries on the punk DIY spirit that goes into the making of David’s work, unedited and un-censored.
I also have a brilliant designer called David Caines on board who shares my love of avant-garde performance and has plenty of experience working on such books – he’s my fairy godmother who’s helping me realise my dreams - turning my hand made photo-works into an actual object.
Why support this project
- Contribute to the making of a unique peice of queer history. Queer culture needs to be documented properly so that it does not continue to be lost in history, we need to ensure that not only the mainstream is preserved and that we tell the stories from our own insiders perspective with the sensitivity and honesty it deserves.
- Have your own name go down in history as one of the backers or 'benefactors' who made the production of this book possible your name will be included in the book.
- Own a unique artwork - a piece of queer history. The book is a limited edition artwork and will be a collectible item, there is nothing like it on earth!
REWARDS (see rewards list for full range)
Pledge £10 - Signed postcard + credit and updates.
Pledge £30 - The book signed by David and Holly + a signed postcard + credit and updates.
Pledge £45 - The first ever Pam Zine with photo collages, recipe and poetry signed by Pam + the book signed by David and Holly + a signed postcard + credit and updates.
Pledge £100 - A3 digital C-type print of one of the photo-collages or an A3 print of one of David's artworks from the book (chosen by you from a selection of signed and numbered limited edition prints) + the book signed by David and Holly + a signed postcard + credit and updates.
Pledge £350 - get an original artwork/photograph featuring David Hoyle by Holly Revell beautifully printed on your choice of paper, mount and size. Here are some examples - you will get to choose one from a selection in my portfolio + a special edition of the book with hand finished details and ephemera on the inside of the cover signed by David and Holly + a signed postcard + credit and updates.
Thank you so much for your support and interest, as David would say, “I’ll leave it with you!”
“The greatest living performer” – Justin Vivian Bond
“He is raw, sometimes a bit frightening, but also thrilling in his look-no-hands recklessness.” –The Guardian
“There is nothing quite like it: bold and unique, electrifying and disarmingly humane” – Time Out
What is Kickstarter and how does it work?
• Kickstarter is a funding platform dedicated to making creative projects possible with direct support from the public.
• You, our supporters, make pledges, perhaps motivated by the rewards you’ll receive...
• If I reach my goal of £6000, your pledge will be processed by Kickstarter and we will complete and publish the book as planned.
• If I don’t reach my goal of £6000 you won’t be charged for your pledge and the book will not be completed – we will try do something but on a much smaller scale… Please help!
• If we make more than the minimum £6000, we will use the funds for launch parties in London and Manchester, an exhibition featuring the original artworks and dummies from the book, marketing and possible additional rewards perks.
Risks and challenges
The photos have all been shot, printed and made into almost 100 A3 photo-collages which I have since digitalised along with David's artworks ready for print. I have a designer to help organise the material and do the fiddly stuff that I don't know how to do, he's already created some of the design visuals you see here on this page! A printer has been sourced and quoted - this is the main cost and the campaign will enable us to finish the book and get it into your hands. I don't anticipate any risks as we are ready to go - this is like a pre-sales for the book and so much more.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (36 days)