On the very day a new administration took office in the White House, Dorian Wood recorded their music video for their latest song FAF. FAF, which stands for “Fat Ass Fuck”, is Wood’s own interpretation of the empowerment anthem WAP by Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion. The video is a fever dream about body positivity–a hypnotic, psychedelic fantasy that explores Wood’s life-long relationship with their body. We premiere the official music video at the end of this piece.
Wood shot the FAF video at Oxy Arts in Los Angeles in an effort to sway the negativity of the last four years away and to reclaim their liberation amid the pandemic.
FAF is off Wood’s second album to come out of the pandemic in 2020, REACTOR, which followed the covers-heavy folk album ARDOR. For Wood, REACTOR is a folk music that is angry and defiant and explores the textures of electronic sounds.
Listen to REACTOR.
Inspired by the late greats like Nina Simone and Chavela Vargas, Dorian Wood is an acclaimed non-binary musician/multi-disciplinary artist/activist who seeks to glorify the sanctity and irreverence of intimacy. A larger-than-life presence whose powerful music bellows into the soul of those who experience it. Through the use of their corpulent body and booming voice, Wood revels in challenging the artist-audience separation, using subject matter informed by their own perspective as a non-binary brown person and an autodidact.
Wood is part of our 15 Queer People of Color to Follow in 2021 because of their unapologetic discourse through mixed media. Their drawings are something out of a dreamworld, melding the erotic, grotesque, and beautiful. As a model, Wood serves as a muse in the discourse on body and movement.
Wood’s work has been showcased in concert halls and performance spaces around the world, including at institutions like The Broad (Los Angeles), REDCAT (Los Angeles), Museo Nacional Del Prado (Madrid), the City Hall of Madrid and Teatro de la Ciudad Esperanza Iris (Mexico City). From 2019 to 2020, Wood completed several successful tours throughout Europe, Mexico and the U.S. with their chamber orchestra tribute to Chavela Vargas, XAVELA LUX AETERNA.
Most recently, Wood became a 2020 Creative Capital Award recipient and an Art Matters Foundation grant recipient. Wood has released over a dozen recordings and albums. Wood’s short film Paisa, made its debut at Outfest in 2019. The film is an immersive celebration of beauty of queer brown sensuality, body positivity, and individuality.
Up until early adulthood, Wood accepted as truth when they were told that fat people never found love, that they shouldn’t stand under the sun for too long because their skin would darken and nobody would want that, that their hair looked too “Mexican” when it grew out, and that they should tone down their femme behavior because it looked and sounded ridiculous. They now rebuke these falsehoods that are solely intended to destroy the human spirit and use their art as the ultimate defiance.
Instinct is proud to be the official release of FAF and we had an exclusive opportunity to learn more about the force that is Dorian Wood.
DAVID LOPEZ: When did you first begin to embrace your body and identity?
I think when I began doing performance art, about 12 years ago. I had always yearned for the softness and grace of a dancer, and daring to achieve that in front of others with these big tits, big belly and big ass seemed almost demented. But I tried it, and I managed to turn all these prejudices on their heads. The outright laughter and mockery I had always anticipated were not there. Instead, I received love, positivity, inspiration and encouragement from peers and spectators, and I believe it is because in liberating my body from shame, I shared a deeper truth about vulnerability-as-strength that we are taught not to discuss or acknowledge, yet we all so desperately yearn for it. It is a strong message that I have learned to communicate with intention and mindfulness. Now, when I go nude in public, I see it as wearing a fine suit for a special occasion.
DL: Why is there such negativity surrounding the term ‘fat’?
Those who identify as “fit” and “thin” are among the most insecure people I’ve ever come across. I’ve had ripped, muscled guys come up and compliment me on my bravery with nudity, and they’ve shared how they themselves could never do that. This is all very revealing, for in order to belong to an oppressive majority, it is not enough for them to achieve the delusion of an “ideal”. Oppressors need terminology and systems to create this delusion, and at the expense of our emotional and mental stabilities. The “ideal body” cannot exist without demeaning the “fat body”. Fat is what is trimmed off of the piece of quality meat, and we’ve always been expected to accept that comparison. This changes now. There is no evidence of their oppression holding any validity other than a self-serving agenda. I am comfortable finding love in my body being called fat. It is not in the spirit of defiance, but simply how I describe my body size. I see the nuances of my curves, the way the light hits my ass that makes it look amazing, the textural artistry of my marks and scars, the powerful softness of my breasts, and the wholeness of being a smooth, round, divine creature. I also work as an art model. A fucking muse. This is the truth I have let inside because it is the only one. At the same time, I do not need to identify as fat to feel beautiful. As proud as I am of my fat body, in the end, whatever I do with it is my thing.
DL: What kind of conversations have to occur to lessen the stigmas surrounding body image in the LGBTQ+ community?
We are so fucking powerful. For centuries, the LGBTQ+ worldwide community has broadened and mastered the concepts of relationships, community, individuality and creativity. And yet, there is still such a need among so many of us to assimilate to a white heteronormative way of doing things, when in fact, the norms should fully assimilate to who we are and where we’re going. Shaming others for their appearances is archaic and goes against the work our ancestors and transcestors. Our survival has been built on caring and loving others that are so different from who we are, and I take pride in that. I believe that the existence of my work is part of that necessary conversation to put stigma in the ground for good.
DL: What can you say to those who struggle when looking in the mirror?
I say that your mission in life is to identify the beauty that is already there, and to also identify the naysaying voices that manage to bully their way to the front row of your mind. Who are those voices? Are they people from your past? Are they toxic people around you? Are they strangers on the street who threw an insult at you? And why should any of those idiots get to take the wheel? Who the fuck gave them magic wands? No one. Only you. Take their wands away, crush and mold them into a Super Wand that only you can wield. Life is too short to give anyone outside of your being that kind of power.
Here is the premiere of Dorian Wood’s FAF
For more information, visit dorianwood.com