Thursday, November 13, 2014
Mat Fraser: The Outsider Is In
'And I’m a freak and I’m an actor, and I’m a freak actor playing a freak. And it’s awesome!'
It's an interesting phenomenon that things are only different when compared to something else. In a room full of blondes, a lone redhead would stand out as being different. You put that same redhead in a room full of other redheads, and add just one of those blondes, and it is now the blonde who is the outsider.
There is something beautiful about the assembly of actors and characters on this season's American Horror Story Freak Show. Together, they are groups outsiders, bonded together as family. They are only freaks to those outside of the tents, the ones who pay to come see them. To them, those paying customers are the odd ones, the ones to be careful around and fear...the freaks.
When I first saw actor Mat Fraser who plays Paul the Illustrated Seal I was intrigued. It took me a few minutes to figure out what was real and what was CGI on the show and except for most of his characters tattoo's, what you see of Mat is beautifully real. I saved a few images to do a piece under my 'unconventional hunk's section of the blog, but after getting to know a bit more about the English actor it didn't feel right. Unconventionality is so much more than a label, it is both a way of life for some, and a way of being that so often separates more than bonds.
Mat is so much more than his differences, he is an actor, musician and performance artist who skillfully uses both what we connect to, and what we struggle to understand within his work. Mat also has a undeniable sex appeal, one the producers of AHS obviously saw as last night his character was the object of desire for both Jessica Lange and Grace Gummer, and front and center in the story.
When you search Mat Fraser on-line, the resulting images may come as a surprise. Mat even cautions AHS fans who come to his site they may see some things they don't like. 'I’m fundamentally an Outsider artist, free thinking and independent' I didn't see anything I didn't like, in fact I was incredibly fascinated at the performance artist piece of Mat's work and how free has been to use his body within his art, and with his message.
Mat's unapologetic presentation of himself as not just a man with a disability but as as a sexual being is both refreshing and necessary. Mat's sexual energy is evident on screen whether clothed or not and it can't be denied or hidden. By removing those clothes however, he challenges everyone who struggles, or refuses, to see or accept that those on the outside have the same sexual desires as they do. Mat's real life perfectly embodies so many of the themes of AHS this season and now that Hollywood has discovered him, I look forward to much more of his work.
Below: Mat Fraser & Julie Atlas Muz, Beauty and the Beast