Remembering lllustrator Robert de Michiell (1958 - 2015)
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 de Michiell (who had died in October 2015 at the age of 57). Although I didn't know him personally I knew of his work through a friend 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.
I often found myself confusing de Michiell with another gay illustrator, Robert W. Richards (still alive, at the age of 80), who also participated in the erotic art workshop. Their drawing styles, however, differ - de Michiell'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.
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. de Michiell had four of his sketches published and eight of Richards' were chosen.