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Remembering lllustrator Robert DeMichiell (1958 - 2015)

DeMichielle Robert de Michielle

 

While watching last week's Tony Awards I was surprised, and saddened, when, during the In Memoriam segment, Chita Rivera said the name of illustrator Robert DeMichiell (who had died in October 2015 at the age of 57).  Although I didn't know him personally I knew of his work through my friend Tom, who participated in an erotic drawing workshop that met weekly at the Leslie Lohman Gallery in SoHo.  Robert was one of the regular attendees and I bought a number of his sketches (two which are shown to the right) at the gallery's first Dirty Little Drawings show in 2003.  It exhibited work by participants of the workshop (all submissions were 4X4 inches square).  Once I knew his style I recognized his work in Entertainment Weekly and The New Yorker.  He also produced a series of colorful Fire Island postcards that captured the carefree, body-beautiful atmosphere of the Pines.  (The scope of his work is nicely captured at the website illoz.)

 

 

XRSCN4942
One of the postcards in DeMichiell's Fire Island Pines collection

 

Robert de Michielle chest
Another of his drawings that I own

 

Robert de michiell man on beach towel
Having spent a number of summers in the Pines, might I have been the inspiration for this sketch? 

 

New yorker cover by robert demichiell
March 1, 1993 cover illustration

 

I often found myself confusing DeMichiell with another gay illustrator, Robert W. Richards (still alive at the age of 75), who also participated in the erotic art workshop.  Their drawing styles, however, differ - DeMichiell's hot and masculine men are a blend of caricature and cartoon while Richards' men are more lifelike and have pretty faces with a high-fashion flair.

 

Robert richards
An example of Robert W. Richards' work

 

After a number of Dirty Little Drawings exhibits the organizers of the workshop compiled nearly 300 of the sketches and published them in a handsome hardbound book (like the drawings, 4X4 inches) titled, you guessed it, Dirty Little Drawings.  DeMichiell had four of his sketches published and eight of Richards' were chosen.

 

Dirty Little Drawings

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