I never had talked with an erotic gay illustrator before but when I asked to Michael Broderick to let me interview him he was very nice and said: “I am ready to make this interview happen” and the results is here. What about this artist? According to his own words:” A simple guy, who wishes he and his husband could move to Paris and live like an 18th aristocrats – the usual”. Here is nothing to hide, only beauty to show up and enjoy it.
When a child
” I was more interested in drawing castles and unicorns. I was such a little teen girl. Truth be told, they looked like little gnomes (proportion wasn’t something I’d mastered yet) cavorting naked on the beach”.
“Pencils, pencils, pencils! When I first started drawing erotic art about 20 years ago, I was all about pencil work. Even today, most of my work starts with pencil drawings. Sometimes, I will color a piece using my computer, but even then, you can see the pencil work underneath. So, when it came time to come up with an artist’s name, I used lead as in pencil lead and the hott is self-explanatory. At the point when I’d drawn my 100th image, I decided a needed a nom de plume”.
“When I first started working, sequential art was never something I considered. One day, I got an email from Dale Lazarov, who is a rather well known author of sex positive, erotic comics. He asked me to look at one of his scripts; a graphic novel set in the mid 60s. I read it, loved it, and decided to give sequential art a try. FAST FRIENDS was the result. It was well received and I was pretty proud of it – still am. That led to other, similar projects and eventually my own comic, SCARED STIFF. Stripped Uncensored was an anthology I was invited to take part in. Bruno Gmunder was compiling a group of artists they had worked with and I lent some pieces to the project. “G” is for Groundskeeper, my second solo book with Gmunder, was my take on the alphabet book – a hot, DILFy groundskeeper “working” his way through the senior class. I guess that was a form of sequential art, as all the images were tied together and the groundkeeper had to look consistent from exploit to exploit. Scared Stiff was my first solo comic – not really solo as my husband was my collaborator, writing the stories and helping with “scene” direction. It was a passion project. I’ve always been fascinated by fantasy art and the old horror / fantasy comics. Scared Stiff was a way to incorporate those aesthetics into a gay context. All are still for sale, so please take a look! I try to bring beauty to a subject that most people view as vulgar. Even people who are doing the things in my drawings wouldn’t necessarily want to hang depictions of those acts on their wall and there’s something about that that I find culturally disappointing”.
Erotica and porn
” I remember going to a bookstore with my friend (now husband) and saw my first Tom of Finland images. I think porn is something created just to get one off – a quick tug and lights out. Erotica, on the other hand (no pun intended), should be exciting, but should also be beautiful – have some depth (again, no pun intended). I enjoy drawing both. I try to draw hot sexual images that I don’t get to see in the mainstream and when I draw something just for the “thrill” of the visual, I’d call it porn. However, when I’m trying to bring some beauty to the hotness, it’s closer to art in my opinion. Like the boiler plate on my web site says, I try to make images that I wanted to see as a young, gay kid, but didn’t get to – mainly because of mainstream homophobia. Porn is great – GREAT – I’m pro porn. I don’t watch that much these days – the occasional online clip but that’s about it”.
“I remember telling friends that the following Fourth of July was the first time I actually felt proud of America – it’s as though it had woken up. Sadly, all that is in danger now as we have a fascist in the White House surrounded and advised by racist, sexists and homophobes. I have been with the same man since 1989, we considered ourselves married even though it wasn’t legal and we lacked the associated protections. We legally married in 2009 when New York State recognized it. So, we celebrate our anniversary as though it’s been legal all this time. This May will be our 28th. I’ve donated to causes I feel strongly about and volunteered for pro-LGBT politicians”.
Young, gay and artist
“That depends on so many factors that there is no easy answer. I imagine a young gay person living in some remote area that isn’t, let’s say, hospitable to gay people (or anyone who is different, for that matter) would experience lots of ugly, possibly violent, resistance to being gay, never mind drawing the things I draw. Still, I think if someone is able to navigate the stupidity of humankind then there’s no reason he or she could not express him or herself similarly. That depends on SO many factors. Where are they living? How old are they? What is their family situation (out or not – accepted?). A lot of progress here in the US has been made, but sadly there is a long way still to go (especially now in a country with a fascist in control). With all of that said, my I suggest that any artist work on a good understanding of anatomy before putting pencil to paper – mouse to mousepad”.
“While I would love a studio on the Ile St. Louis in Paris, I’m very comfortable sitting on a chair in my NYC apartment with my drawing pad in my lap. It’s difficult to put a time on my work – some take days; others are finished in a few hours. Sequential art takes FOREVER. Inspiration comes from a variety of places. I get it from the outlets you mention, but I try never to just copy an image or a composition from some other source. If I see something that is especially compelling: a porn film, a movie, a guy at the supermarket, I’ll keep the image in my mind and translate it into something I’d like to see. I do not use live models, but will occasionally reference a photo for positions, proportions, etc. Regarding types – I draw what I like, so I don’t include types just to include them – I don’t like pandering”.
“I really don’t care what straights are seeing or saying about LGBT community by looking at my work; if, indeed, anyone is using my work as visual indicator of what the community is up to. This reminds me of a controversy involving cartoons in the US in the late 80s. Parental groups railed against classics like Bugs Bunny, Tom and Jerry, and Woody Woodpecker for depictions of ridiculously broad cartoon violence. The thinking being that children would imitate those acts and harm or kill themselves. The social dynamics of that controversy were many, too many to explore here in any depth. However, I think the analogy is sound. The “young people’ you’re talking about are not children and I don’t think anyone should take their cues from or educate themselves based on drawn images (cartoonish or realistic).
Projects and goals
“While I don’t have any immediate projects in the works, I do have a longterm goal of being a freelance illustrator, living and working in Paris with my husband, and drinking hot chocolate every morning at Deux Magot – divine!”
“I don’t very much about Peru but it seems fascinating…”.