meet tomorrow’s man
The art zine, which celebrates the male nude is in its third issue (but please don’t tell David Gandy he’s in it).
Adam Gumula by Jack Pierson Courtesy of Jack Pierson Studio and Roger Bywater
Before there were openly gay magazines and internet porn for all persuasions, there were "pictorials" which purported to be bodybuilding manuals and hetero celebrations of the male physique. One such magazine was Tomorrow's Man, a title that artist Jack Pierson has re-appropriated, along with its retro gym bunny aesthetic. The latest issue will be making its debut at the New York Art Book Fair 18th - 20th September and is a collaboration with three other artists: Richard Tinkler, Peter Fend and writer Veralyn Behenna. Pierson's work examines the intimacy of romance and the detachment of obsession, sometimes washed over with melancholy, something chuckling with laughter. Here's what he had to say...
Which other 50s and 60s magazines served as inspiration?
I loved all 50s and 60s physique magazines, especially Physique Pictorial. The first time I was in LA in the late 80s I made a pilgrimage to AMG studio and even got shot by Bob Mizer [renowned gay photographer].
How do you think male bodies have, or haven't, changed since those days?
I have a feeling all the body types that we have today were around even then. The ones documented in the Physical Culture magazines may look closer to how we look now because everybody works out now. Back then they were documenting a legitimate sub culture of athletes and vagrants. The fun thing about today is there's just as much interest in heavy guys as well as skinny guys; something for everyone.
Why is full male nudity still so taboo?
Who knows why male nudity is such a big deal? I think it will get less and less so now that every teenager posts pictures of themselves on the internet. I think there's some idea that power is maintained by concealment. I always think the naked person is the most powerful in any situation.
There are some big models in the issue, like David Gandy. Was it hard persuading them to do the project?
I guess Gandy doesn't know he's in this issue. I shot him ages ago although I didn't get him nude. He's one of the rare cool guys that I do think has been shot nude though. I hope he doesn't mind. I don't want a cease and desist! The other guys are free spirits I guess. Here's the thing I find surprising about models and their agencies turning me down for these shoots: my guess is the male model with the greatest career of all time is Tony Ward, no? He's still working well into middle age for big campaigns and he's had his dick out a lot. It doesn't seem to have hurt him.
Why did you pick these particular supporting artists for Issue 3?
Richard Tinkler has been in every issue so far and I hope will continue to be. His work manages to be incredibly "today" yet deliver a '60s vibe. Peter Fend is a conceptual geo-political activist artist whose environmental stance is urgent and needs to get out there. I like to pretend these serious artists are there to protect us against being indicted on smut charges.
What would you say is the mood of the issue?
Beachy. Arty. Fun.
How do you stand out at the New York Art Book Fair?
The funny thing is the pictures I think are very innocent happy and not meant to be sexually provocative. We get enough of that in advertising and editorial, don't you think?