“My dreams often factor into my work,” shares Johannes J Jaruraak, also known as his alter ego, Hungry. “More than direct ideas, it’s usually the vastness of emotion I experience in the dreamscape, which often leaves me devastated or overwhelmed shortly after waking.”
Known for the illusive nature of his work, the longtime Björk collaborator shapeshifts into figures that are at once alluring and unnerving. Through make-up and fashion, Hungry makes the familiar unfamiliar, and vice versa.
Akin to the scientific process of sublimation where the form is changed but the essence remains the same, Jaruraak draws from a background in costume design to conjure visions of ‘distorted drag’ with the intention of presenting viewers with a chimera, an open-ended question.
It’s “an otherworldly vision of something unreal, which is still related to the human form, but avoids specific definitions and categorisation”, shares the artist.
“I like to have them question what they understand as beautiful.”
“Since childhood, the ideas of the ‘other’ and ‘beyond’ have captured my creative interest,” says Hungry, who served as make-up lead for Björk’s Utopia and Fossora projects.
Jaruraak’s Roman Catholic upbringing fuelled this fascination of life after death and “the unimaginable wonders and woes of heaven and hell”. “When trying to establish my creative identity, I started visualising my ideas and theories of what’s beyond human and beyond lived realism.” The result is art that captivates and jolts us into another reality.
“My nightmares mischievously tend to cloak themselves as regular dreams at first, which makes them very unpredictable,” says Jaruraak. “I suppose my nightmares would affect me and my creations even more than my dreams, since they’re the ones that shake things up a bit.”
“My process always starts with the feelings and references a look evokes in me, when wearing it,” explains Jaruraak on the creation of Hungry. “The Spheroid dress from Iris Van Herpen’s Hypnosis collection took us to 16th century Spanish men’s fashion, so we wanted to keep it very androgynous.”
To the artist, the matching facial prosthetics adorned by Hungry is representative of “pre-pubescent purity”.
“We’re discovering an interdimensional take on the 1920s,”explains Hungry. Organic art nouveau shapes allude to a free spirit anxious that their time of hedonism is nearing an end. “The custom hooked Fangophilia grills were commissioned as an exploration into my fascination with cleft lips.”