Thursday, 27 October 2011


It's been quite a while since my last post as I've been busy with real life but the recent EQCA and PFLAG awards Adam has received along with the Advocate article have inspired me to get creative again. With a new era upon us, the old graphics feel dated so I wanted to make something new to reflect the less glam, less frivolous vibe I get for the upcoming album while still retaining a little humour.

Proud Adam Lambert Rainbow Pride Flag T-shirt design
I've been thinking about how Adam has unintentionally ended up gradually adopting a role in sociopolitical activism. At the start of the journey, it seemed to me that he just wanted to have fun and play dress-up while making music. It might sound somewhat superficial but that period was driven by excitement for the new and eagerness to carve out an identity. The album reflected this energy and optimism. Along came the Out interview and the controversial letter of criticism from its editor Aaron Hicklin accusing Adam of de-gaying himself by turning down the cover and doing a hetero Details photoshoot. Adam has since revealed that the AMA performance was in part an angry response to that criticism. It had been a rocky ride for our formerly reluctant poster-boy.

While it's unfair to expect every gay person in the spotlight to automatically take on the responsibility of leading the charge when all they want to do is go about their business like anyone else, Adam has come to the conclusion that it does play a part in his business, and now that he's in a position to make a difference, he's trying to use it in the fight for equality. Though the way Hicklin attacked Adam and his management in that letter was out of order, he effectively laid down a challenge which Adam has quietly stepped up to, with positive repercussions still making their mark. In an unpleasant and roundabout way, Hicklin got the result he wanted, to the benefit of many.

Adam Lambert Rainbow Revolution Pride Flag T-shirt design
I felt that Adam's performance of ACIGC in LA signalled a shift in his degree of involvement with politics and we've seen this via the Trevor Project through the "It Gets Better" campaign and the Aftermath Remix. Although he still seems uncomfortable getting up on his soap-box to speak up about issues, I think he's in his element when expressing it through music — not on a political level where he isn't yet at ease but on a personal, emotional level as a consequence of those policies — in Outlaws of Love.

There are four designs here, which I created to reflect the role Adam has adopted. I wanted my illustration to parody a political propaganda poster with him as a stoic revolutionary, regal and exuding power. I went for a slightly ironic and humorous take (depending on how you see him), depicting him as the Gay Messiah / poster boy that some people have demanded of him. Who knows, history could well remove the irony.

The first design is of Adam against the backdrop of the rainbow flag with a simple word: "Proud". It could mean many things; Adam being out and proud and gay enough, thankyouverymuch; his support and contribution towards LGBT rights; pride in him for being publicly out and leading by example; pride for his working hard towards a dream inspiring millions along the way; pride for just being uncompromisingly himself. There was also something in the Advocate article about people being reluctant to admit to liking him as he sees himself as uncool:
“I pick up this kind of energy among young people that it might not be the coolest thing to say you like Adam Lambert’s music. People don’t think that I’m cool.”
Well the design is also a response to that. It's a way of showing that you are an out and proud Glambert, proud to be uncool (and therefore post-cool?) if that's what liking him makes you.

Adam Lambert Rainbow Flag Revolution T-shirt designAdam Lambert Red Revolution Pride Flag T-shirt design

I've used a lyric from Strut as the slogan for the other designs, retaining the informal spelling to keep it light-hearted. The second one has a subtle rainbow flag in Adam's hair for those of you who aren't fond of wearing too much colour, and the last two are variations; one with a vertical flag, the other without any rainbows. It could well be that Adam will grow into a revolutionary figure for equal rights but for now, the revolution is closer to home. How many of us have changed, feel braver, stronger, happier within ourselves? In how many of us has Adam effected a personal revolution? I hope these are designs you'd be proud to wear in support of Adam, whether for counter-protests or as a constant reminder from him that the power for change is in each and every one of us.

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