Emily Roz

Gamecock 1, graphite on paper, 18 x 14 in
Subway reading with 10 year old

As a way to work through ideas faster I started making some small pencil drawings. And I’ve been thinking a lot about manhood lately. I made some graphite portraits of gamecocks after reading Charles Willeford’s book, Cockfighter. The narrator works the 1960’s Southern cockfighting circuit, conditioning his cocks by putting them through brutal trials to find out just how game they are for this bloodsport. Yet he handles these vicious birds with love and tenderness, showing both pleasure and pride in their tight plumage and firm bodies. In my drawing, I was attracted to the sexual, labial folds of my gamecock’s skin, its feathers plucked and eyes set on fighting to the death. My buddy image is of me on the subway, where I get most of my reading done. My son gets a kick out of sitting next to his mom, who’s reading Cockfighter. -Emily Roz, 2012

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