Christopher Street Cryptography - illustration by Jory Dayne

When I attended the Make 2013 workshop at Light Grey Art Lab earlier this month, we were generously given an opportunity to create a piece for their upcoming Message in a Bottle show. Kali Ciesmier challenged us to use informal subdivision to generate an asymmetrical layout, while the Light Grey crew gave us the show theme. Negotiating the layout while trying to generate ideas was… challenging, to say the least!

Ultimately, I decided to depict a sunset scene out of NYC’s seedier days on Christopher Street’s Pier 45; it’s littered with the symbols, signs and secrets of the more… solicitous sexuality in the 90s. Cruising queens, shore leave, and hanky codes! Oh my!

Arpad Miklos, illustration by Jory Dayne

I was super saddened to hear about the passing of Arpad Miklos, yesterday.

If you don’t know Arpad or his work, you should be aware that every search you’re gonna try is going to be NSFW in the maximum sense of the words. But lemme wax nostalgic for a moment: I remember the first time I ever saw Miklos. It was in the early 2000s, when the order of the day was this very Abercrombie aesthetic: tanned, California surfer clones with perfectly waxed bodies that seemed to actually live in a perpetual Bruce Weber photo shoot were held up as this de facto standard of the male ideal. I was just barely out of high school, a lanky, hirsute little dork, and I couldn’t possibly see myself in any of those images, and the pursuit of that body seemed so artificial and weird. Publications like XY and the like presented things as this sort of binary: hairless twinks or hulked out hairless twinks.

But man, one day I saw a flier for like, Hot House or something at a club, and there was Miklos — this super hairy, visceral, rough hewn, gigantic, beast of a man. To a child of the 80s like me, this was like… I don’t know, some sort of saturday-morning-fueled fever-dream. This was like… Sgt. Slaughter or Zangief made flesh. And it was this sort of AHA! moment where I realized that not everything or everyone had to fit into this very commercial, mall friendly idea of male sexuality and that there was maybe a whole world I had never encountered. And while his movies were a part of a world that definitely scared me at the time, Arpad just seemed like this totem of reassurance that there was a place where guys that looked like me could be considered attractive.

Anyway, I’m going to miss seeing him around in a new and surprising situations — on pink beach towels and in superb music videos, say — but he’ll be hard to forget. RIP, Miklos. “Boys that held him dear, do your weeping now.”

Here’s a peek at an poster I’ve been working on for Mark Louque this week — he’s got an awesome party happening this coming week in Provincetown. If you’re in the area, keep an eye out for my posters.

Due to some… strong wording, let’s say, this is probably all I’ll post of it here (at least while the 2012 school schedule is coming up — I’m teaching again this semester, hi students!)