photo courtesy of Lilly McElroy
Lilly McElroy loves to throw herself at men. No, I don’t mean she’s a big flirt. I mean that Lilly, a 29-year-old artist, goes to bars and literally launches her body into men. It’s all part of her ongoing project, “I Throw Myself at Men,” a photo series that features shots of Lilly midair as she leaps into the arms of complete strangers.
After reading about her in Bust magazine and checking out her website
I just had to know more about Lilly’s projects. Read on to learn more about the purpose of “I Throw Myself at Men” and find out what else Lilly is up to these days.
How did you get the idea for “I Throw Myself at Men”?
I stumbled into it. After I made “Pushing Cowboys,” I was working with the idea of actually wrestling with men in bars. That project was a failure, but I’d taken a couple of photographs of the moment right before we started wrestling and there was something interesting there.
Tell me more about “Pushing Cowboys.”
“Pushing Cowboys” is a video in which I go to my hometown (in southern Arizona) and literally push against the type of men that I grew up with. It is a feminist act.
What are you hoping to explore about relationships with “I Throw Myself at Men” ?
Several things. I’m interested in how difficult it is to form connections with others. The attempts strike me as hopeful, kind of like acts of faith. I suppose that is part of the reason my leaps make sense. I also like how aggressive these attempts at making connections can be.
How do you go about asking a guy if you can, er, throw yourself at him?
I’m straightforward. I see a man who is larger than I am, then I walk up to them and ask “Would you mind if I literally threw myself at you?”
The article about you in Bust magazine stated that your boyfriend actually takes a lot of the photos. What does he think of the project?
I’ve never asked him. He seemed to enjoy the process and started insisting that I buy the men I throw myself at a drink afterward.
Is this similar to projects you’ve done in the past? What kind of art do you typically do?
Most of my work is about trying to form connections with people or things, so it is pretty typical. This project is also a reflection of my love of physical comedy.
What are you working on now?
I’m in Provincetown, Massachusetts participating in the Fine Arts Work Center winter fellowship program. Right now, I’m working on a sculpture of me kicking a dog. I’m interested in villains.
Kicking a dog?!
The kicking dog thing has to do with frustration and a new found interest in villainy. I’ve always enjoyed the “dog kicking villain.”