When an artist becomes his own work of art, it’s quite a sight to behold. Witness then the wonder of Ismael Álvarez, for whom the title ‘Hunk of the Day‘ seems almost diminishing. Mr. Álvarez is clearly so much more. The notion of ‘gay art’ will be hotly debated in some circles, but this has never been the place for anything other than a celebration and admiration of such artistic offerings.
Perhaps understanding the idea of marginalization a bit better than most, Álvarez takes his place on the fringe proudly, and it’s apparent in his striking work. Vibrant, thought-provoking pieces invite the viewer in for a chuckle, a smile, and complete rapt astonishment: a cream-covered banana, a shirtless merman suspended in water, skewered celebrities, fabulous fan art, a hirsute Wolverine busting out of heart-covered boxer shorts – it’s a true melting pot of all that is blithe, bonnie, good, and gay. The end result is somehow deeper than one might expect. Celebrating more than the glorified hairless twink of yesterday, he is keen on illustrating some diversity among his subjects. His website shows off a colorfully bold collection of work, as well as a background on how he came to be such a passionate artist.
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My name is Ismael Álvarez. I was born on 12 May 1978 in Ayamonte, Huelva, Andalucia, Spain. Having a civil guard as a father and a gipsy mother, it was obvious I would end up being this antsy. If I had to blame someone for my drawing skills, I would choose my mum with no doubt. While she was pregnant, instead of eating chocolates or any other craving, she felt more like drawing. She filled many notebooks with voluptuous women with big breasts, huge butts and sex, a lot of sex.
I studied Fine Arts at Universidad Complutense (Madrid), the city where I lived since I was a little child. It was in Madrid where I met the most important people of my life and also the place where I started my career as illustrator, graphic designer and comic draftsman. Apart from this, I was also in contact with the fashion and the acting world, working even nowadays as a freelance photographer.
I love art at every level. Gustav Klimt, Warhol and Lichtenstein are very inspirational, although Tom of Finland is who fascinates me the most. He is the god of the homoerotic art. I really like eroticism, and even pornography. For me everything has an artistic side, but unfortunately not everybody sees things in the same way. Many times it seems that ‘sex’ and ‘taboo’ are inseparable concepts. Sex is only dirty if the mind of who is watching it is dirty (ok, and if you do not keep yourself hygienic as well.)
~ Ismael Álvarez