I have come across many stories from people about conversion therapy and “pray the gay away” retreats. The main focus is to cast out the “gay demon” inside of us. My husband went through it and I have friends that did also. Ty’s story is another glimpse into the life of someone who was told he wasn’t good enough because he was gay. I feel these stories need to be told till everyone is loved for who they are. Ty wrote a one-man play about it and he sat down to talk to me about his experience and the play.
What can you tell us about the upcoming play “A Southern Fairytale?”
This play explores what happens to a young gay man who is told from an early age that he would never amount to anything, or be anything, because he is living in sin. Throughout the show you see him struggle not only with his family, friends and school, but also with the truth of his orientation. My hope is that even though this play is based on real stories, that anyone of any gender and orientation can see a part of themselves in this particular story. We all struggle with thinking we aren’t good enough, but we don’t always recognize that struggle exists.
How did the idea of “A Southern Fairytale” start?
Alex Bond can be blamed for this show; she was an actress that had grace and beauty like no other. She was also a mentor of mine and the last day we spoke she told me to write my story down and share what I have to say about love, acceptance, and self-worth. When she died very suddenly, I felt like I had an obligation to finish this play in memory of her.
Can you tell me a little about your experience with conversion therapy?How did it impact your life? What sort of damage did you experience from going through it?
I’m very lucky in the sense that the conversion therapy I went to wasn’t very aggressive. I was originally sent to a therapist to help manage my anger issues, but when I came out the first time, that quickly shifted to teaching me how I was living in sin, God was never going to bless me, how much I would hurt those around me, how I would become evil and sinful, etc. Beyond the conversion therapy, what really had a profound impact on me was when the people I cared the most for left me isolated and alone. Those people told me I wasn’t fit to be around little kids or to volunteer. So, in combination with your therapist telling you your life is going to shit because of “a choice” and everything you know slipping away from you, you start to believe that because you are gay you are destined to live a life full of unhappiness and loneliness.
In the “story” section on your website, you mentioned you plan to continue to push through your fears and dreams even further to see how you would grow as a performer. If you don’t mind, can you tell us some of your fears and dreams?
Oh geez, we are going to go there? Let’s start with fears and then work towards dreams. End on a happy note. I will let you in on one of my biggest fears because it actually is a reason why I am writing “A Southern Fairytale”. I’m afraid that I am wrong about being gay and that it is a choice and I’m making the wrong choice. It’s from years and years of people telling me it is a choice that will have a profound impact on my life. I just have a hard time shaking it off some days. Especially when I go through a bout of anxiety or extreme stress.
Now, one of my biggest dreams is that I will be able to support myself solely on my work as an artist by telling stories that have a real, lasting impact on the people involved and people watching. I want to get to a place where one day I’m not waiting tables, promo modeling, or tending bar at parties. All my energy and efforts can go into supporting the work of people making a difference through the arts.
What is next for Ty? What obstacle do you want to tackle next?
After my one-man show goes up at NY Summer Fest, I plan to develop the full-length version of the play and finish writing another play I have in the works at this moment. Beyond that? Truthfully, I want to be signed on by an agency to start building a team to help me work more efficiently. Hopefully I can accomplish that soon!
Ty, thank you so much for sitting down and talking with me. If you want to catch Ty and his one man show “A Southern Fairytale” he will be performing at NY Summer Fest in New York at the Hudson Guild Theater September 13, 15, and 16. You can get tickets at Brown Paper Tickets. You can keep up with Ty on his website, and Instagram.
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Beach Boys in the Buff
I caught up with artist Marc DeBauch to look at his series of work titled Beach Boys.
When did you discover and start to explore your passion for art?
I started drawing and painting when I was three years old. Before I was five, I remember creating a crayon drawing of the Sinking of the Titanic on the rough plaster of the living-room wall of my parents’ house. It was impossible to remove — my parents weren’t happy with me, but after that they provided me with enough art materials to pursue my creative interests without destroying their home.
When did you start specialising in painting naked men and creating erotic art?
It was 36 years ago when I started painting male nudes and selling them in a local gay book store. Then, in 1995, I entered two paintings in the Tom of Finland Foundation’s Emerging Erotic Artists Contest. I was won first place, which opened the door for my art career, as I was immediately approached by galleries and magazines that wanted to feature my art.
This gave me the confidence and notoriety to exhibit and sell my work at erotic art fairs and gay events. At that time, the internet was just emerging, so my friend Andrew created a website for me, which was a fantastic tool to get my art out to people around the world.
You’ve written that Tom of Finland is one of the major influences on your work — when did you first encounter the work of Tom of Finland?
I remember seeing Tom of Finland’s art in a porno magazine my friend had in high school. I was just amazed at the sexual tension, outrageous anatomy, and attention to detail in Tom’s art.
This was back in the early 1970s, so gay porn was just emerging legally in magazines and films. At the time, I wasn’t talented enough to draw the human figure accurately. But, I was fascinated enough to want to try. My sister’s boyfriend was a photographer, and he gave me his dark room equipment — back then you actually had to develop film, as there were no digital cameras.
I talked a friend into posing naked for me while jacking off, and I developed the film and made some prints. I was 14 years old, photographing another 14-year-old boy. It was very exciting creating my own porn! Unfortunately, my dad — being supportive of my art — wanted to see the photos, and of course I couldn’t show him. Not only did he not approve of gays, he didn’t want his son to be gay. He would have probably hit me if he knew I was a homosexual creating gay porn! So, I destroyed the photos almost in front of him, while saying — “The photos didn’t turn out and I would show him better work at another time.”
I was scared and freaked out. I knew I was self-censoring. But I also realised that if I was going to create erotic art that I would have to do it in secret. When Tom of Finland began drawing naked men, he also had to make his art in secret. I think most erotic artists learn to be very careful about choosing the right audience to exhibit their work to.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
My inspiration comes from people I know. I’ve been fortunate to see and meet many beautiful men in my life. Capturing their beauty and illustrating them in a unique way, is my goal.
What’s your creative process?
My creative process is different every time I paint. Sometimes an idea for a painting just pops in my head and I try to find model to pose for a photo to match my vision — that’s often the easiest route.
I rarely work from a live model. My paintings take so long to create — I often work all night on a painting — so, finding a model to sit for that long of a period and whenever I want them, is impossible. I use the photos of my models as reference.
Often, I look through hundreds of images and piece things together in a collage. It’s more like a jigsaw puzzle — lots of pieces missing, and my mind fills in those missing pieces with an arm from this model, the chest from another, the dick from another, the face from another, and so on, until I have the entire figure. But then I have to decide how the light and setting will pull all of those puzzle pieces together.
I have dozens of photos that are my references for every detail of plants, animals, rocks, furnishings. I sort through a constant mess of photos — gradually eliminating those references as my brain digests the information and my brush puts it on the canvas or paper.
The paintings that form the Beach Boys series are beautiful — what are some of the challenges in creating beach scenes like this?
Trying to find a balance between the setting and the model is always a challenge. I don’t want the model to overpower the beach, or the beach to feel more important than the model. I want my paintings to have a natural feeling, like you could be at the beach with my models.
Who are the men featured in the paintings of the Beach Boys series?
The men in my Beach Boy series are mostly friends that have modelled for me. Sometimes I find a photograph of a model that someone else has taken, that inspires me to use it as a reference pose to work from, then I find one of the photos of a beach that I’ve visited and I try to recreate a similar pose in a drawing that will eventually become a painting.
What do you hope that people feel when they look at your work?
I don’t want to just give the viewer of my art an erection, I want them to feel like they’re part of the painting, that they want to invite the men in my paintings into their homes, their beds, their dungeon, their car, their locker room, or the bushes for a hot fuck, butt licking, cock sucking, ass spanking good time.
I hope to excite the viewer visually, emotionally as well as spiritually. It’s my goal as an artist and sexually active gay man to paint erotica that continually challenges the views of people who oppose sexual freedom. If my paintings assist the viewer in discovering where they are in the spectrum of human sexuality, then my aim is reaching its target.
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