Superlative online fashion publication Amelia’s Magazine put out a twitter call for illustrations for a review of cult 70s homoerotic film Pink Narcissus and I thought it would be fun to have a go. I was asked to illustrate a still from the matador scene, where our devastatingly beautiful hero /muse “bullfights” with a handsome young man on a large motorcycle. As you do.
The film itself is a masterpiece of kitsch, shot on 8mm film, opulent saturated colours burning into the retina. It was created over seven years in a New York apartment, released without the permission of its (long-time anonymous) creator James Bidgood, and has been a highly-influential underground classic. In fact, after watching the bits available on YouTube I noticed that my music-video-making friends Casey Raymond and Ewan Jones Morris referenced some of that saturation and stop-motion animation creatures from it in their excellent video for Cate Le Bon’s single “Hollow Trees House Hounds”. The little thieves.
Anyhow, here’s my take on the still. The image was composed and sketched out in pencil, solidified with ink and brush, scanned into Photoshop where cardboard and fabric textures were added along with the intense colours. My aim was to retain the kitsch and the camp of the original, along with the colour, without losing the erotic power and active dynamism of our matador – although objectified, he is no passive wallflower. Click on the image for a bigger, more detailed look.