Here’s what Dan
had to say about his art,
Tom of Finland and the July 9th festivities in L.A.
(Interview by Sean Carnage.)
What’s your name, how old are you,
where were you born and where do you live now?
Hi! My name is Daniel Luedtke. My nickname is Danimal…
sometimes it’s shortened to DNML
How would you describe your visual aesthetic?
Colorful, Geometric…abstract stuff meets gay/feminist/kitsch
What is/are your most commonly used medium/media?
Silkscreen for the most part. Sometimes I do drawings and I’m
getting into video, which I’m excited about.
How did you get into making posters? Which
was your first?
I started making flyers, and then posters for my band Gay Beast.
I realized that I really liked making posters after I made a
Dan Deacon / Gay Beast poster with doilies…and I geeked
out drawing all the lettering.
What poster is your most recent?
I just made a poster for a local experimental music festival
here in Minneapolis called Heliotrope. Working on a poster for
a monthly queer party I help throw called Pegasus. It’s
our gay pride / dyke march after party and the theme is “soft-core.”
Who are your biggest visual inspirations
currently and why?
And as far as musical inspirations? Visual inspirations are
far and wide. Well…TOM of course, but also a lot of ’60s
and ’70s printmakers like Eduardo Paolozzi, Kiyoshi Awazu,
and Tadanori Yokoo…and a lot of video art. I love me some
videos by Nate Boyce, Animal Charm and Ximena Cuevas.
Music…. I end up listening to a lot of
synth-pop and dance music while I work. Stuff like Fad Gadget,
Solvent, and DEVO (my favorite band)… but when not working,
I enjoy more out-there stuff like U.S. Girls, Arab on Radar
(read the exclusive interview), and Sightings.
Do you make your living in music or art
or both or neither? How does a poster artist/musician survive?
Sort of yes, and sort of no. I have a part time job working
with six adults with disabilities. This provides me with about
1/2 my income, and the other half comes from graphic design/illustration,
print commissions and print sales. As far as the band stuff…
it seems to be just where I want it, self-sustaining. The money
earned by shows and merch seems to be just enough for our jam-space
rent, supplies, gas and van maintenance.
What are your thoughts and impressions of
Tom of Finland?
Tom is a big influence. I could never ever draw as well as Tom,
so I am forced to approach things differently. I always appreciated
how personal all the TOF artwork was. You can tell that these
are Tom’s personal fantasies set to paper, and they translate
so well. They are wildly entertaining. I aspire to make my artwork
as personal as Tom’s, while still giving my viewers enough
bang to keep them entertained.
When did you first draw sexually explicit
It was a flyer for a gay party! I copied the Tom drawing with
a guy in space who is holding the earth, as if to fuck it..
I redrew that drawing but gave Tom’s figure E.T.’s
head. The party was called “My Jazzy Crotch”.
When is the first time you put sex or dicks
or ass on one of your posters? How was that received?
Whenever I put a dick in my posters or prints, it’s usually
pretty successful. The first time was a tour poster for my friends’
band Neptune. The drummer is gay, and he wanted their poster
to be “hella gay” so I drew a huge jack-o-lantern
staring at a muscle bear.
I just did a collaborative print with my friend
Anna Tsantir where we collaged a bunch of torsos penetrating
cocks going into assholes to form these semi-abstract fucking
totems. Then each of the three fucking totems are sitting inside
a fantastical geometric landscape. It’s hard to explain,
but I thought it was an interesting balance of figurative, abstract
and geometric forms.
I did a second tour print for my friends in
the band Neptune that was pretty racy. It involved pairing two
humungous day-glow cocks with striped ball-sacks with a drawing
of a 16th century witch, followed by a pack of dogs. Oh! And
the cocks are on fire! I had been having a lot of bad sex at
the time, so I wanted to create a very colorful bad sex omen.
What other artists are you closest to? Certainly
there can’t be too many gay rock ‘n roll printmakers…
I am currently blessed to be living with two talented printmakers
and graphic artists: Casey Deming and Dan Black of Landland.
It’s a big house of poster nerds. Minneapolis is a really
big screen printing and poster town. When I was teaching myself
how to print, I would often contact people like Aesthetic Apparatus,
or Burlesque Design, or Dale Flattum to ask them technical questions
and the like. I am still very much in contact with many of the
poster artists here in town, and we’re always keeping
each other on our toes.
As far as gay poster artists. Yeah. There’s
like…none. It’s kind of sad. There are very few
women in the scene, and even fewer fags. I actually only know
of one, Walter Scott from Montreal, who also plays in a really
great punk band called Dead Wife. I never understood why punk
rock has become so out of favor with many gays. We all weren’t
born with a Lady Gaga-loving gene.
What are your big projects now and for the
rest of the year?
I’m curating a print show for the Mid America Print Council
here in Minneapolis. It’s a big regional print conference
and I’m setting up a show of silk screened art prints
that were made by people who primarily do poster work. I’m
working on a few album covers, hammering out the script for
a futuristic porno with my boyfriend, and probably applying
to some graduate schools.
Sailors, soldiers, bikers…which would
Bikers of course. They’re the most punk, and I have a
particular fascination with boots.
What’s your favorite Tom of Finland
scenario? Have you ever tried to re-create that in real life?
I love Tom’s depictions of group sex. In the comic Kake,
there’s this amazing strip with an office orgy. I haven’t
ever taken part in an orgy, but I was spit-roasted by two doctors
once. That was fun.
Whoa—what? So what can we expect at
your Tom of Finland reception and showing?
There is going to be a mix of erotic, and more abstract work.
Probably just a few posters, and mostly art prints.
And what about from Gay Beast at Pehrspace?
We have been writing new material furiously. The newer songs
are a little more hypnotic and melodic, although still weird.
Expect a short set, with dense jams and some strobe.
And where would your dream after party be?
A dirty back room of course!