U.K.-born, California-raised Antony Hegarty felt himself to be the consummate outsider until he came face to face with the image of Boy George on the cover of the Culture Club's 1982 debut album, Kissing to Be Clever. He relocated to New York City in 1990, where he found a world more accepting of his avant-garde sensibilities and sexually ambiguous nature. He created the cabaret ensemble Blacklips and modeled himself after Blue Velvet-era Isabella Rossellini and the drag queen that graced the cover of Soft Cell's 1982 single "Torch." He formed Antony and the Johnsons and released their self-titled debut on David Tibet's Durtro label in 2000, followed by an appearance on the Lou Reed albums The Raven and Animal Serenade; he toured with Reed throughout 2003. He has also appeared in the Steve Buscemi film Animal Factory as an androgynous convict. Antony and the Johnsons released a series of EPs in 2004, followed by the band's second full-length, the Mercury Prize-winning I Am a Bird Now, in February of 2005. Antony spent the next two years on the road, as well as appearing on Björk's Volta and in the Leonard Cohen documentary I'm Your Man before returning to the studio for the 2008 EP, Another World, which preceded 2009's full-length The Crying Light. Antony and the Johnsons' fourth studio album, Swanlights, arrived the following year. In 2011, the album's publisher, Abrams, issued a companion edition of Swanlights collected in book form, with Antony's paintings, drawings, photography, collages, song lyrics, and writings. In 2012, the band released Cut the World, a symphonic retrospective arranged and performed in collaboration with the Danish National Chamber Orchestra. It featured 11 tracks from their catalog, and the title cut, a new song written for Robert Wilson's stage production The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic.