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“Twenty-five years ago, I greatly admired Tom of Finland’s technical skill and his depictions of joyous demi-gods frolicking in a homo-centric universe. It was empowering to behold and afforded a new masculine identity for queers throughout the world to adopt. But I wasn’t fucking around with guys that looked like that and neither was anyone I knew. Regular, everyday, natural guys needed to be represented.” — Michael Kirwan

Bruno Gmünder


“I like to pair up different types of people to heighten the dramatic narrative. Young/old, fit/ flabby, participants coming from different ethnic, social and economic backgrounds. Inclusiveness

has always been an underlying theme for me and showcasing body types not routinely represented in the works of other erotic artists is something that I consciously decide to follow.� — Michael Kirwan

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No Kissing 1998


A Yawn is as Good as a Wink 2000


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Forest Spunk 2011


Into the Woods 1 2001


“For me there has to be a plausible reason for anyone to be in a certain situation. There are always steps that lead a person to being bent over a Victorian settee with frayed underwear around their ankles. You don‘t end up with a cock in your mouth by accident. There must always be an overriding logic behind any drawing that I do”

JUST SO The Distracting Spotter 1996


Michael Kirwan

Horny The No-Hands Method 1996


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Busy Public Restroom 1991


Pledge Picnic 2009


Kirwan’s Way Preface by Richard D. Marshall

Michael Kirwan is admittedly a master of homoerotic art. His career now spans over 25 years and he is a proficient and provocative artist who expands the boundaries of sexual artistic expression. Kirwan maintains a clear aesthetic position, and is undaunted by rampant conservative thinking that attempts to thwart freedom of expression and sexual relevance.

jock welcoming frat boys into an orgy, slacker dudes with big dicks, gloryhole encounters with uniformed officers, plumbers, construction workers, adult video arcades, steam room and bath houses, beer busts, college dorms, drunks, studs, students, hustlers, voyeurs, salesmen, punks, gardeners, tan lines, jeans, t-shirts, boots, and the handicapped.

Kirwan is a rebel, and enjoys his position as an outspoken opponent of the mind-police that threaten to halt aesthetic progression. His works introduce previously unseen and unusual depictions of sexual encounters and classic body types. Although admiring and digesting the work of Tom of Finland, Domino, and The Hun, he has taken a different path from their idealized physiques and scenarios, and has presented other sexual alternatives.

Kirwan employs rich and saturated colors often shunned by his predecessors, who primarily worked in black and white mediums. Kirwan does not shy away from gaudy interiors featuring dirty mattresses, patterned sheets, ugly carpets, and hideous wallpaper. In fact, Kirwan has captured the zeitgeist of the moment, reflected in his depictions of clothing, shoes, hairstyles, mannerisms, and locales.

Kirwan’s art displays hairy Hispanics encouraging young boys to partake of male pleasure, and features rimming, pissing, cum-filled condoms, fellatio, sodomy, and feltching. The artist enjoys depictions of gloryhole activity, gang sex, adult theater trysts, and shower scenes. In the face of criticism from peers and publishers, Kirwan is pleased to presents a coach in a

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In addition, Kirwan sympathizes with the longings of his viewers, and chooses to indulge their fantasies, which might include longing, hunger, enjoyment, degradation, wonder, delight, thrill, the forbidden, and the thrill of the clandestine. As a Curator of Contemporary Art for over thirty years, I have followed Michael Kirwan’s art with the same fervor as artists such as Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Robert Gober, Jack


Pierson, and Ed Ruscha. These artists share an impulse to advance the notion of art beyond current ideas in order to create a newer understanding of what art can accomplish.

Similarly, Michael Kirwan (b. 1953) is a member of an impressive group of twentieth-century artists that have advanced the cause of art whose subject is homosexual activity, including Jean Cocteau (1889–1963), George Quaintance (1915–57), Kneeland Bate (Blade, 1916–89), Tom of Finland (Touko Laaksonen, 1920–91), Stephen/Etienne (Dom Orejudos, 1937–92), Rex (b. 1947), Jim French (Colt/Luger b. 1932 ) The Hun (Bill Schmelling, b. 1938), Domino (Donald Merrick, 1929–90), Harry Bush (1926–94), Bill Ward (1919–96), Bastille (1929–90), and Gengoroh Tagame (b. 1964). Michael Kirwan has followed his predecessors’ examples and expanded the repertoire of sexual surrogates to include a panoply of ethnicities, ages, and physical types in various sexual scenarios. He has also employed Renaissance techniques of overall composition in order to include numerous individuals in a single scene and to compose multiple figures in a triangular composition that is reminiscent of classic arrangements of the crucified Christ. Kirwan has advanced an aesthetic interest into another level that defies categorization and encourages lively debate.

Richard D. Marshall is an independent curator, art consultant, and art historian based in New York City. He was formerly Curator of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, for twenty years. Marshall’s most recent books include, Ed Ruscha (Phaidon Press); Jack Pier-

Careful Whispers 2003

son: Desire Despair (Rizzoli International); Georgia O’Keeffe: Nature and Abstraction (Skira Publishers); Kenny Scharf (Rizzoli International), and Joan Mitchell: The Last Decade (Gagosian Gallery, New York). Mr. Marshall is Curator of the Lever House Art Collection, New York.


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At the Lodge 1994


Another Homeopathic Treatment unknown


Gay Life in Urban America Preface by Durk Dehner

Michael Kirwan’s art is an embodiment of his upbringing amongst the gritty tenement buildings and streets of New York City. His artistic yearnings started when he was very young as he daydreamed himself into colorful worlds. These rich visual tapestries were woven of men in search of constant sexual gratifications in that sometimes grim landscape that is life. These characters that filled his mind’s eye would soon follow onto his drawing paper in his adoles-

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cent years. To walk in on Michael drawing, one would not find him behind a desk. He would be much more likely to be curled up in a sofa chair with his drawing paper supported by a TV tray, surrounded by a plethora of marker pens in every color and hue. This is the way it began for him as a kid, and the manner he has maintained throughout his entire adult career, his preferred working environment to create his vivid stories of sex in the city.

A Tightly Knit Bunch 2010


The present fad revolving around 3D pictures and movies is truly flat when compared to Kirwan’s art. 3D uses gimmicks to entertain through optical illusions that are in my estimation artificial and without soul. Kirwan’s art on the other hand uses texture and shapes evoking the fullness of his characters and backgrounds, setting the stage for the viewer to enter in and become part of his creations. Michael does have obsessions in his works and for many he has clear intentions. The ongoing presence of mosaic style patterns in his set-ups, as detailed in his bathroom tiles, quilted bed spreads, ornate carpets produce dream-like hallucinatory visuals from which his guys come to life. Possible when one speaks of 3D, when the pictures jump out at you and or you jump into them, one may really be speaking of Kirwan’s work in all its wonderment. His genius in using color and shading are akin to the vivid tones that are found in our own dreamscapes. This technique bridges one more step further into a realm where cartoon characters become the type of illustrative images we actually retain within our minds as the identities of the people and events that we encounter in life.

through capturing the nuisances of personalities, mannerisms, physical traits and characteristics that combined are essential aspects for his visual erotic narrative. His satisfaction lies in depicting the average blokes. These are the real stories of sexual adventures and exploits in urban America then, now and hopefully forever. Kirwan is a master of his craft. He has dedicated his life to this storytelling through his art, praising the sexual prowess that is in all of us, sometimes a little bit goofy, and a little bit awkward. His graphic homage honors the everyday type of guy, those who may not be part of the A List. They are more mundane and yet more identifiable. His goal is to highlight the sexy appealing attributes of his working class heroes who are not part of a special group of wildly beautiful and successful men. This all culminates to his favor for his work possesses a more real representation of who we are with the humorous depictions that we can recognize in ourselves and those around us.

It’s clear that the classical concept of male beauty do not ignite Michael’s artistic desires. His interests lie in bringing life to his works

Kirwan’s time of arrival is now, a time when we can laugh and find pleasure in all the facets of character that make us a wonder to behold as humanoids. He is a celebration of life, our beautiful cock-loving life.

Durk Dehner resides in Los Angeles. Founder & President Tom of Finland Foundation inc 1984. He has produced over 22 international Erotic Art Fairs and is the key person responsible for sustaining the presence of Tom of Finlands art

work in popular culture. He has produced books on the art works of Tom of Finland, Etienne, The Hun, Olaf. He has been a staunch advocate and activist for protection , preservation and nurturing of homosexual culture internationally.


The Further Future of Gay Erotic Art by Michael Kirwan

During the last few hours of the 2010 Tom of Finland Foundation’s Erotic Art Fair Weekend (in West Hollywood, California), I was interviewed on camera by Durk Dehner, the Foundation’s Co-Founder and President. He asked a few very pertinent questions regarding the state of the Gay Community and whether the artistic representations of our tribe will continue to resonant with the oncoming generation of Queers. It’s a subject which I’ve given a great deal of thought over the years and since I was pulled into the conversation cold I don’t think that I adequately voiced my current position. So, I’d like to expand and clarify on the matter. I told Durk that I see a great fissure appearing in the Gay Community. Eventually, a significant portion of our brethren (I don’t know enough about Lesbians to claim to speak on their atti-

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tudes in this discussion. Ladies, please opine) will join the ranks of those who clamor for monogamous marriage and the white picket fence by adopting Romanian, Asian, or African babies or going the surrogacy route; lining the pews of the supernaturalist’s domain; and going to pta meetings. In general, becoming like straight people with a twist [tee-hee]. On the other side, there will be the sex pig. This appellation is used with respect, revolutionary zeal, and the most heartfelt affection as I am a lifelong devotee. These are the Queers who will not conform to someone else’s rigid expectation of how they should conduct their lives. These are the rebels who will reject the demand for normalcy. These are the boys who will choose to chart their own destiny without the obtrusive and demeaning guidelines by the culture at large.

Post Game 2001


So, I see two very different camps emerging in Fag World. The first is comprised of those who willingly adopt a parallel straight existence. The second is filled by the creative core that celebrates our difference, our outcast status, and our unique contribution to civilization (by sucking off strangers in public restrooms and thinking about the world from a outsider’s perspective—a stance that has created the best art in the history of mankind). I make a distinction between guys that just hook up and spend years or decades enjoying each other’s company (and probably conducting independent sex lives) and those that mimic straight behaviors (monogamy=good, a less structured libido=bad) in their attitudes.

There will be couples that identify with QueerVille and those that see themselves as just part of the real society. Asshole couples with children and straight cohorts will not be honoring the tribe by hanging artwork featuring giant drooling cocks. So as far as I’m considered, they are traitors. But then again I’m no fan of Queers that don’t decorate their abodes with COCKS. Hah! The straight-life clones will eventually become even more of an enemy to the sex pigs than the current batch of haters (“You can’t cruise the parks where I bring my precious children, Tiffani and Joshua!”) but that’s another story for another day.

If Only I Had 2001


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Loggers, Pre-Dawn 2007


Lockdown 2006


pensation), there seems not to be a traditional structure available for the promotion of artwork dealing with sex between/amongst males. The internet? Who knows? I’m probably the worst business person alive and I’m incapable of prognostication as I pretty much live in the moment. I couldn’t tell you what I’ll be doing or thinking half an hour from now with any certainty.

I just learned that the Advocate’s skin-rag titles Freshmen and Men have bit the dust as have the Mavety titles Honcho, Mandate, Inches, Playguy, Torso. On my trip to the Fair, I saw that the Different Light bookstore on Santa Monica was no more. There seems to be a Gay bookstore or Gay bar closing happening on a regular basis in this country. These were the main outlets for Gay artists producing erotic imagery to survive commercially. Without the magazines and other establishments that supplied some measure of financial support for those like myself to disseminate our artwork (and get some survival com-

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But, I’ll tell you this … the Picket Fence crowd will start insisting that all the sex pigs either join their bandwagon of boredom or disappear completely. Then, the new generation of Queers, preferring to identify and determine their right to be who they want to be, will find a way to spread the images, literature, films, and music that exemplify their beliefs to be seen by those who are like-minded. We’ve been doing it for thousands of years, and we will always be better, smarter and more creative about messaging to each other than straight folks. When our own same-sex brothers attack (and they will), a whole new realm of homoerotic art will develop to combat the threat and unite the freedom-loving core adherents of the cleaved tribe. Nothing sparks the creative impulse like repression.

Eagle Poster 2008


There will be significant differences in the visuals to what we have been accustomed to as Gay art evolves. I doubt we’ll see the fixation on uniforms. The new fags see cops as corrupt and inept oppressors. They see soldiers as men willing to suspend personal morality for a paycheck while murdering and maiming other human beings in foreign lands at the say-so of some creepy, corporate-owned politician. They’ll remember Abu Ghraib. They’ll have seen Marines taking it up the ass for dollars on various websites so the nonattainability factor is removed. So, the law enforcement and military figures that fueled the fantasies of bygone multitudes of Gay artistic expressioneers will probably become quaint and hopelessly retro. The whole notion of men so conditioned to conformity that they don identical outfits will seem outmoded. And, the new fags see the existing motorcycle culture as a bunch of middle-income old farts play-acting instead of as rebellious, bad-ass, Marlon Brando/ James Dean types that caused earlier generations to swoon with secret awe. Hence, those leather standards will cease to be a defining aspect of how Queers envision rugged individuality. And let’s face it, the entire arsenal of B/D/S/M has been co-opted by the fashion sector. The depictions of helpless tethered victims (which I believe reflected the constraints of the closet) being raped by cruel masters (again, ascribing our other nature to being absolutely responsible for any homo-pleasure derived) may also seem somewhat trite and overwrought. So the iconography will change and morph and develop as the need to unite the tribe moves our propaganda needs forward. Firefighters and athletes will probably survive as symbolic Man/Hero representations. I don’t know. We’ll all see what happens.

This is not to say that the images that galvanized us as a people for the past half-century should be discarded or disrespected. They are important because they brought us together and bestowed a universally understood language that we needed to form a coherent identity which could (and did) effect social change. How we saw ourselves included in drawings and words clarified how different, valuable and viable we were in the fight against our enemies. The art of Tom and Blade and Domino and Harry Bush and subsequently myself (well, really, did you think I’d not exercise my ego? Hah!) and all of the artists since are part of a continuum. It was/is an act of defiance. Gay art will always exist. Sure, pornography is available all over the place but artistic vision of the same subject matter appeals to people on a different level. Porn is solely about sex while erotic art is about sharing an artist’s

Pit Licking Jonah 1990


perception on what the sex truly means. The early and current depictions of homoerotica are just part of a long line of creative efforts that solidify our genuine and unique stake in the world. It’s important to understand how our tribe dealt with role expectations then, how it is reflected now, and what will be seen in the future. The fragments and fabric of what has evolved as Gay Culture are all inter-related and as the new

fags take over they’ll be wise to honor and build on the legacy we have imparted. I’m sure the Picket Fence contingent would like nothing more than to disabuse and bury all the drawings and photographs that edify cocksuckery (to save the children! no less) but, they underestimate us sex pigs. A lot of us would rather take our chances in the free and open sea rather than march forever partnered into the confines of Noah’s Ark. By our artwork, we will tell them so.

Hey Guys, a few acknowledgements: The late Bruce Mailman for creating the St. Marks Baths in NYC back in the 1970’s. Durk Dehner and the Tom of Finland Foundation, who have been extraordinarily helpful to my life and art. The late George Mavety, Nye Willden, Christopher Haggerty and all of the many publishers and editors who featured my illustrations. All of the wonderful collectors who scanned my older artwork for this book (especially those who magnanimously had to unframed them), those who’ve sent donations to keep me afloat in difficult financial times. A great thanks to Joris Buiks and his fantastic team at Bruno Gmünder for making this happen. I have to mention my buddy/associate/ webmaster/manager/archivist and all-around lifesaver, Daniel Bauer, who has been singularly instrumental in making this book possible and from all the way on the other side of the country! Thanks so much, Daniel. And finally, a big shout out to the guys who cruise the parks at night and the younger guys brave enough to reach over and grab someone else’s cock for the first time.

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Night Frolic 2000


“Whenever possible I like to incorporate my characters into a intricately detailed background to give the viewer some idea of who these people are and how they live. It’s biographical information that offers clues as to the socio-economic and mental/emotional landscape that my creations inhabit”

My Mug—Not Giving a Fuck 2009

Michael Kirwan was born in New York City on December 27th, 1953. He began drawing around age of five to create an imaginarily tolerable universe to escape the reality of his home life and has been a sexual miscreant and atheist since the age of seven. Raised Catholic (but insultingly not molested), he was married in 1971 and became a father the following year. After getting divorced, he found himself working at the St. Marks Bathhouse in the East Village. While employed there, had his drawings published for the first time in Stroke magazine around 1985. He later produced hundreds of illustrations and comix for dozens of titles for Mavety Media, Dugent Publications, Liberation Publication and many more, becoming a recognized master in the field of erotic art. After living in Miami Beach for a dozen years (including a stint as a chef at the Strand restaurant), he left under a cloud of dubious suspicion and now makes his home in Los Angeles. The vanishing skin rag industry mysteriously abandoned soliciting his input in recent years, but he makes a living selling original artwork to enlightened

collectors worldwide and doing commission artwork for those who’d like their fantasies captured on paper. His friends describe him as, “egocentric, vulgar, unfiltered, opinionated, crude, a ‘blackout’ drunk, dismissive, bombastic, irreverent, hostile, consumed with pointless rage, slovenly, the funniest person in the room, embarrassing and overtly cavalier.” What his detractors say about him is unprintable. See the full spectrum of his Homofesto in the perverted drawings at KirwanArts.com.

Cowpoked, as published in Stroke magazine, Volume 8 / #3: Western Special. 1988


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Frustration unknown


Hot Summer Night early 90s


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Hunters’ Quarry 1994


Group Shower unknown


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Park Ranger 1994


I’ll Join You unknown


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How My Brother Found Out 1993


Lunch Break unknown


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