Saturday, May 10, 2014

AdamMaleBlog Exclusive: An Interview w/ Artist Michael Breyette

I happened upon Micahel Breyette's art for the first time as a happy accident. I was doing a google image search for "gay Halloween art" and out of the thousands of images on the page, one piece of work really stood out. It was a beautiful, muscular man crawling out of a body of water onto a rock. Not exactly Halloween, but it really struck me, so I clicked it. And ultimately, I wound up ogling one astonishing work of art after another on Michael Breyette's website and fantastic blog.

What really makes Breyette's art shine is his ability to give us a glimpse into the intimate lives of men when they think no one else is looking. Sometimes tender. Sometimes erotic. Often heartwarming. Always interesting. His work has been used on almost a dozen gay romance novel covers, featured in numerous gay erotica compilations, and compiled into two books: Summer Moved On and Seasons of Love. Though a lot of his work can be considered erotica, stereotyping him into one single genre seems like a total disservice to his enormous talent. His work is capable of portraying such warmth and depth of human emotion, that it easily transcends simple classification.

Here's a bit of his online bio:
Michael Breyette is a self-taught artist. Like many other fellow artists, he does not recall when he began drawing. But having started at a very young age, he soon realized he had an aptitude for it. Born in rural upstate NY, a region that can sometimes parallel the stereotype of the red-neck South, his earliest works were often of an escapist nature and typically fell within the realms of science fiction or fantasy. But as his sexuality developed he often felt the need to include female subjects in his creations. This allowed him the freedom to paint his scantily clad men without inviting too many unwanted questions from his conservative family.
Currently, Michael has a piece in the exhibit Stroke: From Under the Mattress to the Museum Walls at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York. He has a show coming up at the Lyman-Eyer Gallery in Provincetown MA from July 11-23 with an opening reception the night of July 11 from 7-9pm. And you can always find his work at Gallery XO in Wilton Maners, FL.  Despite all of this, Michael was kind enough to give us a bit of his time and answer our questions!

Q: I really love that most of your art has its own somewhat elaborate back story! How much fun is it to come up with those? Was there a “eureka” moment when you decided to start including them?
Michael: While I may initially had begun my male figurative work as a way to express my passion for the beautiful male physique, it soon evolved into more. I wanted to express certain emotions and capture moments. The men in my work aren't there just to say, 'look how sexy and amazing the male body is' but rather they have become my story tellers, my messengers. That's how I gradually started adding the narratives to each piece. I try to give a little insight as to what story the painting is telling in my mind. However, I usually try to keep it basic and simple and let the viewer come up with their own, as well.

Q: Your Halloween and Christmas themed art is among my favorite in your collection. But, I noticed no Valentine’s Day! Is that a conscience decision?
Michael: The Halloween and Christmas pieces are among my favorites to do as well. They open up whole different realms of ideas and scenes that I can draw from. I never really thought much of doing an annual Valentine's Day piece. I guess partly because I usually do several romantic pieces throughout the year anyway, a Valentine's theme wouldn't be that much of a deviation.

Q: Your art is used on a lot of gay romance/pulp romance novels!Do you have a favorite book or title? Do any of the books just make you shake your head and giggle?
Michael: To be honest I haven't had the chance to read many of them. I am hoping to check them out this summer. But I do enjoy the ones I have read.

Q: What was the inspiration for Holy Trinity? Did the piece ruffle any feathers as your friends feared?
Michael: The concept floated around in my head for quite some time. There is such a volatile history between religions, even hatred due to differing beliefs, arbitrary made up beliefs not facts.

Holy Trinity

Q: Who are some of the working artists you currently admire?
Michael: First I have to say I admire anyone who is putting their art out there. It's a personal thing and it's not easy to do. I also admire artists who manage to find the balance of staying true to themselves while pursuing fine art as an actual source of income. It's hard not to be influenced by what sells vs. what you truly want to create.

Q: Your bio says some of your earliest works are sci-fi and fantasy related! Are there particular comics, graphic novels, movies, video games, etc…you still geek out to?
Michael: I love a good sci-fi movie or show, anything from Lord of the Rings to Captain America.

Q: As you often point out on your blog, you do seem to have a penchant for cowboys? Any idea where this comes from?
Michael: I didn't grow up around cowboys, so it's nothing like that. I think the appeal just comes from the rugged outdoorsy aspects of cowboys. There's a connection to nature and the wild, a free spirit sensibility that just oozes from the cowboy mystique. Add a sexy hat, tight jeans, a touch of leather, a few days stubble...woof!

Q: You do a great job of bringing freshness and originality into gay erotic art while throwing a loving, wink and nod to the works that came before. How important is it to know the history of a particular genre?
Michael: When I started I didn't have any knowledge of other artists that did 'gay art'. I may have heard of Tom of Finland and probably had seen the work of Steve Walker. As I got deeper into the genre I started learning about my contemporaries and predecessors. So I see both sides. On one hand being too aware of what has come before might be discouraging. I might have said to myself, 'this has been done before'. On the other hand, being aware of the pioneers helps place your own point of view in context.

Q: Unicorns…or narwhals? Who would win in a fight?
Michael: Uhm...I don't think unicorns are real. So I gotta go with a narwahl.

Be sure to visit Michael Breyette's Website, Facebook Page, and Blog!

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1 comment:

  1. I own a number of Michael's prints and a couple of them are retired.. He is fresh and passionate.. And very personable when you meet him. I continue to be amazed with his new works. And to see some of his originals at the Lyman gallery in ProvinceTown, Ma. And I seem to always purchase a print while there.