About Tom Galleries Contact
About his work

click on any image, and it will enlarge. (ah, if only sex was so easy:-)



Go back with me, if you will, to the mid-80's. If that's beyond your memory span, rent 'the celluloid closet' dvd to get an overview. I was ever the rebel, and as most professions that used my talents were not willing/able to acknowledge openly an employee's sexuality, I consciously decided I wouldn't work any job situation that didn't. I'd spent 10 openly gay years as ashow dancer and refused to be put back in the closet to appease Jesse Helms and company (google the bigot if you don't get the reference).

At the time a too-young air-headed blond Saggitarian slept in my bed but lived in another world. We tried to connect, or at least it seemed we should have, but it ended up him wishing me dead. Why? because I refused to let him use my license plates/insurance to drive his car wherever he and his dizzy friends decided to go . he'd lost that right thanks to a DUI (driving under the influence). at the height of my frustration I dreamed us on opposite snowy cliffs, me shouting across the void to him and him yelling angrily back "what! I can't HEAR you!" Of course the yelling itself triggered the avalanche and I woke up shivering realizing I should be worried about ME, not him. Then came the realization that all the classic advice I'd been spouting to him about finding something he WANTED to do and DO it, was advice I myself should take. That morning I mailed off a few of my small collection of male nude drawings to the number-one gay publication, Advocate Men and some to the address inside a little gay publication that often used horrible, truly horrible, male nude art (worse than toilet stall stuff). sad but true, my entry into my profession was made easy by the pathetically low standard that existed then (and in many cases still does) in male erotica. My drawings were accepted. Advocate Men offered me a portfolio showing and FirstHand Publications offered a contract.

They'd send me all kinds of stories to illustrate and I discovered I had more range than I'd thought. And soon on I developed a drawing technique that sped up the process and my drawing ‘style’ emerged - drawing with an eraser. (Take a hard graphite stick and a piece of sandpaper and make some graphite dust, then swipe a big pink pearl erasure through it and stroke it on the paper. You get a sharp line if the eraser has a sharp edge and you get a wide soft stroke using it flat. What you don’t get is a mark indented in the drawing paper, which means you can rework the drawing a lot before it’s trashed.) Those early drawings were initially fairly discrete, pretty. I remember the initial surprise and then spreading satisfaction of drawing my first close-up of an asshole.

After some portfolio showings in the glossies, (Advocate Men, Torso, In Touch) things settled down to monthly contributions to illustrate the jackoff manuscripts the FirstHand publishers sent me. It seemed the glossier the magazine the more neurotic and obsessive the art director and most of the time the hassle wasn't worth it.

FirstHand publications, based in New Jersey, accepted every drawing I mailed them and paid promptly and in full. The W2 forms they sent showed income enough to pay my bills, keep me in drawing shape, and exercise my imagination muscles. but it wasn't like it was 'important' work, just a way to get by and live like I wanted. And I liked doing it. Over the years, other artists would mail me of their woes of missing payment and unfair dealings. While others suffered in their labors, those publishers treated me like a prince. The only problem I ever had was toward the end when there were management changes and a lot of originals were 'lost'. I'd have been tempted to steal some of them myself, so I understood and resigned myself to not obsess about it.


During those years I also got acquainted with the California art scene. I had a built-in distrust because of my correspondence with Harry Bush. He'd hated everything about the business there and he warned me to expect the worst. It was as he said. Stars magazine ripped me off for $1000 as soon as they could. Christopher Harrity at Stroke used my work and seemed a nice guy, but the magazine was, for both Harry and me, over-the-line sleazy. Then there was a love/hate affair with the Tom of Finland guys, Dehner,Valentine (president and artist/secretary) and Sharp being AOK and Volker (art director) the monkey wrench. I went to California a few times and everyone in the business was cordially smiling perfect teeth and nice, but advised me not to trust anyone else in the business, all with rip-off stories of their own. To sum up, when I tracked down David Martin to say I was a fan, he said I could prove it by letting him suck my balls. So I did. When in Rome...



Every month complimentary copies of whatever magazine my art appeared in were in my rural mailbox, and every month I'd have to take time to tear them up and burn them on the trash pile, making sure no wayward singed image of cock remained for some family or foe to discover. I was out to my family, but not THAT OUT:-) I wouldn't have minded them seeing my stuff, well, most of it, OK, some of it, but the magazines taken as a whole were over-the-line all of the time. So I'd just save the pages with my art, unless I'd drawn something that shocked me!

But I didn't always manage to save everything and I'm sure that there are images out there with my name on them that have long since dropped from my memory.
Some of the images in this section were from the rough photocopies the publishers sent me on acceptance of an assignment. If you have an example of them in published form, it would be great to receive a scan. At that time I didn't have any computer skills. And since the originals are long gone, these crude copies will have to do. Actually, they still carry a punch and do convey my level of testosterone at the time.


Now something you didn't expect to see and I never expected to do. But here it is, proof positive that I am capable of breaking the number one rule in art - communicate only what you KNOW.
Here I am drawing something I knew nothing about at the time, but through the assignments it became possible for me to at least enjoy the IDEA of it:-)

As the era died with the advent of free porn on the Internet, the magazines were finally very slick and glossy but sales dropped and the publishers cut their illustration budgets and reprinted old stuff for free. The survivors wanted color illos, not black/white. I had to adapt, i.e. learn to paint. instruction was excellent and cheap on PBS’s ‘Welcome to my Studio’ with Helen Van Wyck. It looked easier than it was. But eventually I caught on. My advantage was knowing the anatomy from the inside out, having a healthy contempt for the moral standards of my time, being ignored and having time to learn, and getting enough encouragement from whatever source. And that led me out of the commercial side and into a more artistic stance as I stopped with all illustration assignments and concentrated on just doing a painting.

This image below is from a mailer when the Tom of Finland Foundation was marketing my art. Valentine, who handled the business arrangements there said that the sales were the strongest of any mailer they had so far sent. So far so good:-)



Then in 2000 my eyes were opened as to what a computer could do. I connected to the Internet and sat there gazing into cyberspace seeing my future. It seems in no time at all computer tech has combined with my newly-found ability to paint to connect me with a worldwide audience on Ebay. But there censorship and sundry other things clipped my lusty sails for a bit, but the fickle wind at times picks up speed.