‘Shirts Vs Skins 2 – Curveball’ opens at the Marigold Cultural Centre art gallery Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. and runs until July 30. It contains a variety of mixed media artwork, from framed images to a soccer ball covered in rhinestones.
“I used the sports world as away to talk about masculinity and gender roles, and the expectations placed on us while we’re growing up.
“I played sports as a kid. I came from a family where sports were really important. My dad was a sports star in school so there was a big emphasis put on it.”
It is sport itself, but what goes along with it, that Eisner finds troubling.
“There’s the pressure of hyper masculinity that comes with sports, and for someone who doesn’t fit in a box of what’s expected of a male it’s uncomfortable. It’s good to see more sports figures feeling they can come out now and won’t lose their career over that.”
He feels the pressure to be the best takes away the fun of sports for many people.
“One of the scariest things for me growing up was during practice as school we would be divided into shirts versus skins of teams,” he said. “The skins had no shirts, and for someone who was small and thin that was horrible. When you’re not comfortable with your body and you’re bullied because of it, it lingers with you your whole life. Today, I love the beach but I don’t want to go because I want to remain covered.”
Eisner’s grandmother was a crafter and when he was young and he learned from her. He was also competing in floral design when he was 11 years old.
His latest show includes selected pieces from the first ‘Shirts Vs Skins,’ as well as new pieces addressing sports, childhood, and fitting into society.
“The works means whatever people want it to mean, even if they just see it as fun,” he added. “It will mean different things to different people.”