Where’s Willy? For doubting John Thomases out there, penises are in (for the Summer, at least) In the Post-modern search for identity, this visual puzzle is for the boys!

There has been much ado in the media about FGM (Female Genital Mutilation), at one point I illustrated an article on the topic. The London Evening Standard (under the editorship of Sarah Sands) attempted to raise awareness of FGM, implying it is the result of misogyny. However, in my work I learned it is often women themselves who do the cutting, but no-one tells you that. Inevitably, men get the blame. On the other hand, millions of male infants are subject to MGM annually and I don’t mean Metro Goldwyn Meyer.

Alan Dedman in front of Where's Willy?
Alan Dedman ….. ‘Where’s Willy?’

For whatever reason, religious or medical, infant boys have part of their genitalia removed before they have the power to consider and choose what happens to them. No doubt in desert regions the procedure might be of practical use – grit under your helmet seems a bad idea.

In my own instance ‘I had an accident’. My mother tells me ‘I got it caught in my fly’. Eighteen months and still in nappies, it’s hard to argue with parental authority. I was isolated in hospital for three weeks. My parents weren’t allowed to see me. After being circumcised, my ‘carers’, gave me a boiled egg. I ate the whole thing shell and all. Very funny. Boiled eggs are probably par for the course at a Brit Milah or ‘Bris’, the Jewish ceremony for circumcision.

Loadsa Cocks by Alan Dedman colourful painting
‘Where’s Willy?’ Strident colours.

Male circumcision results in various side effects over time. The glans of a circumcised penis keratinises and becomes considerably less sensitive. No doubt this has an impact on a man’s overall sensitivity. A less visible consequence is the concomitant build up of anger at having been betrayed by your guardians, experiencing significant pain – unable to resist.

Sarah Sands ignores the foregoing in the name of ‘equality’; a clear indicator of how warped and partial our media can be; it is irresponsible to accentuate one gender over another without balancing views. Dylan Jones is currently editor of the London Evening Standard, perhaps he might take a different stance? One of my colleagues from St. Martins sees ‘Where’s Willy?’ as a quick gag or joke. But might think again, once he knows the whole story.

Lots of bell ends where's willy by alan dedman
Fab colours, numerous bell-ends

For me, Artworks can be a kind of therapy. By treating the subject with irreverence, creating something ‘jolly’, I confront my own, at times uncomfortable reality. ‘Where’s Willy?’ developed from a circular painting shown at the Anteros Arts Foundation in Norwich titled ‘The human penis’; someone became interested in finding a hidden willy in the painting.

I painted multiple phalluses that are similar, but different, characterising one as ‘the original Willy’. Instead of searching for an inane cartoon amongst a crowd of look-alikes, we seek a bell-end with distinctive features.

By taking a light-hearted approach I animate the issue. Penises (anyone will tell you) have minds of their own. Standard cock notation is very simple, anyone can do it. Using charcoal I took great pleasure in blasting out hundreds of willys over a large canvas, colouring the counterspaces with lively hues.

Where's Willy? artwork by alan dedman
‘Where’s Willy?’ by Alan Dedman

The result is jaunty, pro-masculinity in a World where it has become popular to homogenise sexual differences advancing the feminine cause over and above that of males. Preventing infants from being mutilated should not be ascribed gender priority, even for the sake of media sensationalism.

I like the simplicity and frankness of my artwork. Don’t forget: these penises are created by a master draftsman, old school, in the European Academic tradition – anarchistic graffiti. Now ….. where exactly is ‘Willy’?

‘Where’s Willy?’ by Alan Dedman is approximately 1m x 2m, in charcoal and acrylic paint on canvas . It is available for purchase, enquiries can be made via the contact form below or on the sales page.