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Parma Ham is the modern-day Edward Scissorhands


TextViolet Conroy

Think more hair, less scissor, twice as much goth

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Parma Ham is an art curatorial producer by day and a goth party monster by night, DJing and forever serving looks to his 35.3k followers. The name? It’s real, by the way. “Earlier this year, The Parma Ham Meat Consortium in Italy tried to sue me for intellectual property infringement,” they said. Believe it or not, but Ham is also vegan.

Hailing from Guildford, Surrey, a place with a small town mentality, it was only when Ham moved to London that they were fully able to flourish. Now co-running the monthly club night Monster, curating and producing shows in Los Angeles and at the Serpentine Galleries, Ham is in their element. The aesthetic? “Extreme, rebellious, fetishistic and sexually devious.”

Ham’s hair is another subject in it’s own right. With an enormous black mohawk that forever shapeshifts from look to look, the Londoner often has to sit on the floor of black cabs so as not to mess up the do (the hair must not touch the ceiling). Think Edward Scissorhand’s meets Robert Smith but with Dolly Parton levels of volume. 

“As someone who identifies as non-binary, my behaviour and dress is not bound by societal gender norms so there’s a huge freedom to what I wear and when I wear it,” says the DJ. This much is true - Ham’s look encapsulates an inherent sense of sexuality, gender nonconformity, and of course, goth subculture.

Tell me about yourself and where you grew up?    
I grew up in Guildford, Surrey. It definitely has a small town mentality, so I wasn’t able to flourish until I moved to London.

What did you want to be when you grew up? 
I didn’t come from much, so I craved success, independence and economic stability. I didn’t care I got it.

What is it you do now and why?
I’m a curatorial producer for an art gallery. I find that the meaning of art is always changing, so I’m always learning, I also work on a bunch of my own projects in my spare time.

What is the story behind Parma Ham?
The name is a comment on the commodification of my identity, which has been processed and auctioned off like meat. Parma Ham is delightful, sick and absurd. It’s a long story, but I actually legally changed my name. Earlier this year, The Parma Ham Meat Consortium in Italy tried to sue me for intellectual property infringement. I’m vegan too, by the way.

How would you describe your overall aesthetic? 
The way I look is a summation of the different aspects of my identity: extreme, rebellious, fetishistic and sexually devious. I DJ and throw goth parties so my look is extremely dark and influenced by my subculture. As someone who identifies as non-binary, my behaviour and dress is not bound by societal gender norms so there’s a huge freedom to what I wear and when I wear it.

Who inspires you?
Baphomet, the embodiment of opposites and celebration of contrasts. 

What are you working on at the moment?
Other than serving looks and doing my day job, I’ve just done a music video with TREMORS TV, I’m curating a group exhibition for my friends in late fall, and I’m DJing in London, Berlin and Glasgow this month. 

What do you want for the future?
For the top 1% of the world to be eliminated.

It's 30 years from now. You stumble home at 3 am and catch your reflection in the fridge door. What do you look like? 
If my night ends at 3am and I go home to eat directly out of the fridge, then I have failed as a human.

As a warning to the other members of the resistance your head is to be mounted above the gates of the city. How would you do your makeup that morning?
I'm torn. Perhaps I would do a conventionally attractive look as a reminder that beneath these looks I am human, or, if I was persecuted for being evil, I may as well look the part - so something demonic.

It is the sixth day and you are creating humans. They can look however you want them to. What do they look like and why?
I would make humans sequential hermaphrodites, meaning every individual would inevitably evolve into the opposite sex. That way, men might be nicer to women and transphobia might not exist. 

Tomorrow you wake up with another face of your choice. Whose is it and why?
Maybe a clock face because that would be trippy.

You’re the editor of a time travelling beauty journal 100 years from now, what beauty trends are you reporting on? 
There will be an elite section of society who are cyborg, covered in implants and obsessed with biohacking. The other 90% will be poor and malnourished, mutated from radiation and poisoned by the world which we have destroyed. The cyborgs will street cast the freakiest looking mutants and make beautiful art and fashion with them. Together, they’ll return to their castles in the sky, while the remaining mutants live in a swamp. So it would be a little bit like now, but with more of a Blade Runner vibe.

 



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