A Love Story: Strykermeyer

Stryker wears coat and platform sandals by Rick Owens with chiffon skirt by Jaga.

Despite his modestly self-effacing manner, Stykermeyer stands as an enduring and decidedly avant-garde presence in Australia's queer community. Dilettante caught up with Styker on set for Ashley Brockman's Love Story.

When did you first explore drag/performance art? What drew you to it?
In the late 70s, a little dive on William Street called Matches allowed me on their small perspex coloured dancefloor to perform I'm Bored by Iggy Pop and Are Friends Electric by Gary Numan. I was hooked!

I was already experimenting with makeup as a child, as a teenager I was a just like a Blitz Kid without even knowing it. Make-up made my heart 'brave'... The stage is the safest place outside my house.

Left: Stryker wears the graphic-print pleated dress by Pleats Please Issey Miyake. Right: Stryker wears the Rick Owens oversized coat.

You've been active in queer spaces for decades, now - what positive change have you witnessed?
I rarely go out these days unless performing, I'm not good at mingling so rarely hang around. There's still a great sense of humour in the queer world and I think the queer youth of today are very savvy. They're breaking down what they inherited and re-evaluating its relevence for themselves. It was indeed outdated, with only one umbrella encompassing everyone under it. We are not 'one thing' now, we are many unique, individual personalities. All valid, all as important as the next person, all seen. The spectrum that is gender is not only wonderful, it's natural.

The many faces of Strykermeyer. Photography courtesy Strykermeyer, Emiko Monobe and Tobey Black.

You've worked in many roles and across many mediums in your career. What are you most proud of?
I've done mainstream and underground movies as cast and crew. Collaborated with some legendary artists and performers, the Sydney Opera House, those infamous Gigantic Parties over east and even painted and sculpted. The proudest moments though are the later period. The collaboration with Ash Baroque has extended my time out there and I'm so grateful. Together we have created some of the most beautiful alternative images and theatrical pieces. Things so moving and soulful. Our uniqueness has a thick skin around it. Our hard work has had an incredible run so far. I can also say (and smile) we are nowhere near the end. Proud.

Left: Stryker wears the A-line printed Pleats Please dress. Junior wears the neon Sprout top by Pleats Please with printed trousers by Issey Miyake Me. Right: Stryker wears oversized coat, tank top, and platform sandals by Rick Owens with Jaga chiffon skirt.

You're somewhat renowned for your elaborate costuming. What makes a great outfit?
Personally speaking. It cannot be just a lingering wish from a festival you never want to end.. A costume must hum. It must add to a performance. Like music to a song, it should say what the lyrics do not. A costume can be simply 'painted on' but I also hand sew, glue, staple, and tape. I weave, I stitch, I paint, and I dye. All that 'purpose and meaning' infused into my costumes blurs the lines of physical/spiritual/theatrical. They are heavy with intent. They 'deliver'. Perhaps they could possibly perform without me.

How do fashion and clothing allow you to mediate your identity?
I'm an eccentric. I'm in a bubble. I don't like to draw attention. I am not a follower of fashion. Most people suspect I am homeless. I often get asked if I've eaten today... the beard adds to that. I wear op shop clothes, or clothes I have altered to fit my flow. I'm right into dark buttoned up collarless shirts now. I love sparrow colours (browns), I notice colour snobs that way. A dark grey-blue tone is emerging now... I change slowly but surely. Summer's always problematic, medication makes me photosensitive, and also forces me to wear something on my head year round - I miss hatlessness! Love natural fibres.


See the full Love Story with Ashley Brockman here.

Photography: Tülay Dinçel.
Creative Direction: Ashley Brockman.
Hair: Pauline McCabe for Rock, Paper, Scissors.
Makeup: Ashley Brockman and Shana MacKinnon for Artists@Play.
Models: Strykermeyer, Junior Moyo.
Production assistant: Stuart Williamson.
Hair assistants: Jodie Woodhall, Jasmin Montaut, Elle Rose Corby, Halle Crawford.

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