Just what draws gay men to draw gay men? And ‘male art’: do you buy it? OutUK's Adrian Gillan drops his kegs to discuss the fine line between fine art and pure porn with the Gay Artists Group and Adonis Art.

Is gay art the new porn? Classy stuff these pastel and watercolour willies and nout to make a mamma blush. I was invited to probe those in the know - both artists and exhibitors. The catch? I had to pose nude to pose my questions. So lookie here!

"Silken Light" by Matthew Stradling
Adonis Art


“Porn?” intones Bernard Merry who has clearly seen it all before but he's profoundly concentrating to catch the light playing off my thighs. . He's a long-standing member of the Gay Artists Group (GAG) that’s met every Sunday for the last thirty years.

“Depends where the line is drawn,” he puns cryptically, “and the generation you come from. At one stage penises were chopped off or, in paintings, discreetly camouflaged. And more recently, even some tennis stars get asked to dress more conservatively.”

He continues, sketching and humbly: “For myself, I would draw it at penetrative sex, and child porn. But as beauty, or porn, or anything else 'is in the eye of the beholder' I cannot speak for others.”

I shift buttocks.

“I think porn’s essentially about wank fodder,” he outlines. “And I personally could find that as much in a carrot and two potatoes as in some of my pieces of drawing or sculpture, which are merely representational of bits of anatomy – both sensual and amusing. Should anyone see wank material in them I should be flattered.”

“Yes,” the artist muses, “I do think art and sculpture has less of a reputation for being porn than video or stills, since it's only representational, and cannot have the same impact. And I would feel more comfortable hanging it on the wall should Auntie arrive.”

What would Auntie do, I wonder stiffly, if she showed up now?

"Adrian Gillan" by Bernard Merry
“GAG is a fully ethical, social and professional group which has been going for about 30 years and naturally the group would have folded were it primarily for sexual stimulation,” Bernard clarifies categorically and with a certain firmness. “We do not get turned-on during a session as concentration is required in our work.”

“If the model does, so be it,” he adds with a twinkle. “Some new models may expect sexual involvement, but our policies are made clear during the first one-on-one interview before their name is added to our modelling list. Whatever happens after a meeting has nothing whatsoever to do with the group.”

I shift buttocks again.



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