Vol. VIII

No Berlin Boy

Interview of Marco Agosta by TSKC’s own Sarah McCrorey!

S: WHAT INSPIRES YOU?

M: I LIKE TO SEARCH FOR BEAUTY IN PEOPLE. NOT JUST STEREOTYPICAL BEAUTY, BUT IN EVERY DIFFERENT FORM. OF COURSE, I TAKE A LOT OF INSPIRATION FROM MEDIA CONTENT SUCH AS MAGAZINES, INSTAGRAM AND PORN. WHEN I SEE A PICTURE OR A GUY THAT I REALLY LIKE, I FEEL THE URGE TO TO CAPTURE THIS KIND OF BEAUTY AND MAKE IT MINE, SOMEHOW.

S: WHAT DO YOU FIND BEAUTIFUL IN A PERSON?

M: THE FIRST THING THAT CAPTURES MY ATTENTION ARE THE EYES. I ALSO REALLY LIKE HAIRY GUYS AND GINGERS. I MOSTLY DRAW MEN BECAUSE OF MY PERSONAL INTERESTS. I ALSO DRAW GIRLS, BUT THAT ISN’T THE CONTENT MOST OF MY FOLLOWERS ARE INTERESTED IN SEEING ME POST.

S: EVERYONE HAS THEIR NICHE. WHAT IS IT ABOUT EYES THAT YOU LIKE? THE HONESTY IN THEM, PERHAPS?

M: A NICHE CAN BE A  GOOD AND BAD THING AT THE SAME TIME, BUT I REALLY LOVE MINE .
I TAKE A LOT OF MY INSPIRATION FROM PICTURES, SO I'M NOT SURE HOW HONEST THEIR EYES CAN BE (LAUGHS) USUALLY A PICTURE HAS TO INTRIGUE ME. IT CAN BE THE POSE, THE WAY THE GUYS ARE LOOKING AT YOU OR A COMBINATION OF THINGS THAT ALL COME TOGETHER FOR ME. I LIKE TO INCORPORATE CERTAIN POSES, SUCH AS PIN-UP, IN MY STYLE.

S: I LOVE THE ELEMENT OF CUTENESS IN YOUR PORTRAITS. EVEN WHEN THERE IS BONDAGE INVOLVED YOU SOMEHOW MAKE IT ADORABLE. WHAT MADE YOU INTERESTED IN FETISHES?

M: IT’S SEXY BUT IT’S NOT PORN. ALL THE FETISHES THAT MAKE ME CURIOUS ARE MOSTLY CONCEPTUAL TO ME. MOST OF WHAT I KNOW I’VE LEARNED FROM THE MOVIES AND USE MY IMAGINATION. GENERALLY, I LIKE THE AESTHETIC AND IDEA OF LEATHER WORK. IN THE SEVENTIES AND EIGHTIES THERE WAS HISTORY AND A CULTURE BEHIND THE LEATHER WHICH CAPTURES MY ATTENTION. BEING SICILIAN, AMERICAN HISTORY FEELS LIKE A STORY TO ME BECAUSE IT’S REALLY FAR AWAY FROM WHAT I AM. SO, I LEARN ABOUT IT FROM THE MOVIES AND THE REST I IMAGINE.

Bearbie Dahl

Bearbie Dahl

S: IS IT MORE SYMBOLIC TO YOU?

M: MORE SO A FASCINATION. THE IDEA THAT ONE PERSON IS LOSING PERSONAL LIBERTIES, ALL FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT AND BECOMING COMPLETELY DEPENDENT ON ANOTHER PERSON AND THEIR PLEASURE. IT’S INTRIGUING AND SEXY. I ALSO REALLY LIKE THE AESTHETIC OF ROPE AND THE GAG BALL.

S: YEAH, I HAVE NOTICED SO MUCH INTEREST IN BONDAGE IN THE MEDIA AND AMONG PEERS, I WONDER IF IT HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH EMBRACING THE FACT THAT WE DON’T HAVE ANY CONTROL OVER THE WORLD AROUND US. OR MAYBE IT’S JUST SEXY.

M: YEAH, COULD BE. PERSONALLY, A BIG REASON WHY I HAVE SO MUCH INTEREST IN DRAWING GUYS AND FETISHES IS BECAUSE I HAVE NOT REALLY BEEN SURROUNDED BY A GAY COMMUNITY. I DON’T HAVE MANY GAY FRIENDS AND I DON’T GO TO THE GAY CLUB, SO THAT’S WHY I TAKE PICTURES FROM MEDIA AND THINGS I WAS NEVER ABLE TO BE PART OF AND I DO IT IN MY DRAWING.

S: THAT MAKES SENSE FOR A VISUAL ARTIST TO TAKE SUBJECTS PERTAINING TO WHO THEY ARE AND THEIR INTERESTS. I’M FAMILIAR WITH CREATING WORLDS IN MY ART THAT I WOULD LIKE TO BE A PART OF.

M: EXACTLY. OF COURSE, IT ISN’T EASY TO START TO DRAWING NAKED GUYS AND EXPLAIN MY WORK TO MY PARENTS. “BY THE WAY, I’M AN ARTIST AND I DRAW NAKED GUYS.”

S: YEAH, I IMAGINE THAT COULD BE VERY DIFFICULT. WHERE DID YOU GROW UP? DO YOUR PARENTS ACCEPT YOUR ART NOW?

M: I GREW UP IN SICILY AND MY PARENTS STILL LIVE THERE. IT WAS HARD TO BE GAY IN SICILY, ALTHOUGH IT IS BECOMING MORE NORMAL. I WAITED UNTIL I WAS 22 TO COME OUT TO MY PARENTS. IT WASN’T EASY FOR THEM TO ACCEPT IN THE BEGINNING, BUT NOW THEY UNDERSTAND AND WE WE HAVE A GOOD RELATIONSHIP. I THINK BEING GAY IS MORE WIDELY ACCEPTED NOW, BUT AS A TEENAGER IT WAS CRAZY TO THINK ABOUT HAVING A BOYFRIEND.

Jeremy Tatoo

Jeremy Tatoo

S: DID YOU GO TO SCHOOL FOR ART?

M: I WENT TO A HIGH SCHOOL FOR ART AND THEN I GOT MY BACHELOR’S AND MASTER’S IN GRAPHIC DESIGN IN ITALY. IN THE BEGINNING, I WANTED TO BE A COMIC ARTIST, BUT THEN I DECIDED TO DO GRAPHIC DESIGN BECAUSE I WAS TOLD THAT’S WHERE THE MONEY IS. I GOT MY MASTER’S IN MILAN.

S: GRAPHIC DESIGN DEFINITELY SEEMS TO HAVE A LITTLE SAFETY NET COMPARED TO OTHER JOBS.

M: I STARTED LIVING A DOUBLE LIFE AS GRAPHIC DESIGNER BY DAY AND ILLUSTRATOR BY NIGHT. CURRENTLY, I WORK PART TIME AS A GRAPHIC DESIGNER AND SPEND THE REST OF MY TIME AS AN ILLUSTRATOR.

S: WHEN DID YOU MOVE TO GERMANY?

M: BECAUSE IT WAS SO EXPENSIVE, IT WAS REALLY DIFFICULT TO BE A STUDENT IN MILAN, AND BY THE END OF IT I WAS EXHAUSTED. I WANTED TO TRY SOMETHING NEW AND I WANTED TO LEAVE ITALY FOR ONCE. I WASN’T TRYING TO ESCAPE, I HAD JUST LIVED IN ITALY FOR 26 YEARS AND WANTED TO TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT. I WANTED TO MOVE TO HAMBURG, GERMANY, BUT I FOUND AN INTERNSHIP IN BREMEN. I WAS LIKE “OKAY, I DON’T KNOW WHERE BREMIN IS BUT WHATEVER LET’S TRY IT.” I ACTUALLY FELL IN LOVE WITH THE PLACE AND AFTER MY  INTERNSHIP I DECIDED TO STAY. I LEARNED GERMAN, SEARCHED FOR A JOB, AND WAS LUCKY ENOUGH TO MEET MY CURRENT BOYFRIEND AND A LOT OF IMPORTANT FRIENDS. NOW, I’VE LIVE HERE IN BREMEN FOR 5 YEARS.

M: BREMEN IS THE PERFECT PLACE FOR ME TO LIVE. IT’S NOT TOO SMALL OR BIG, SO I CAN RIDE MY BIKE ANYWHERE. BUT UNFORTUNATELY, THERE IS NO GAY SCENE AND NOT MUCH FOR ILLUSTRATION, EITHER. WHEN IT COMES TO ART, MOST OF MY FOLLOWERS AND BUYERS ARE FROM AMERICA. BREMEN ADDS A LOT TO MY LIFE BUT IT’S NOT THE BEST PLACE FOR MY ART. STILL, I'M NOT A BERLIN BOY SO I WILL JUST STAY HERE, HAHA. AS FOR SICILY, I ALWAYS SAY THAT'S WHERE MY STYLE COMES FROM. I TAKE INSPIRATION FROM HANDCRAFTED SICILIAN CERAMIC,. MY FAVORITE ARTIST IS DE SIMONE . I ALSO LIKE TO DRAW SICILIAN LANDSCAPES, BUT I NEVER POST IT. EVERY TIME I GO THERE I HAVE MY SKETCHBOOK AND DRAW THE SEA AND VOLCANIC STONES.

S: DO YOU TRY TO KEEP CERTAIN DRAWINGS PERSONAL?

M: YEAH, I DON’T KNOW IF IT’S GOOD, BUT I COMPARTMENTALIZE. MY STYLE AT WORK IS VECTOR. MY PERSONAL WORK, ILLUSTRATIONS FOR INSTAGRAM AND I HAVE COLLAGES AND SKETCHES THAT I KEEP MOSTLY TO MYSELF. THAT’S HOW THESE CURRENT DRAWINGS STARTED AND THEN I FELT LIKE THEY WERE READY TO BE SHARED.

model: Dandy Storm

model: Dandy Storm

S: ARE THERE ANY OTHER ARTISTS OR FRIENDS WHO INSPIRE YOU?

M: WITHIN THE LAST YEARS A LOT OF QUEER ARTISTS ON INSTAGRAM AND TUMBLR HAVE CREATED A COMMUNITY. ONE OF MY FAVORITES IS FREDDE LANKA, AND I EVEN HAVE ONE OF HIS PIECES. HE LIVES IN LONDON AND HE DOES CUTE ILLUSTRATIONS AND CERAMICS WITH A FLAT STYLE. HE ALSO DRAWS CUTE NAKED GUYS, THEY ARE VERY DIFFERENT FROM MINE, BUT IT HAS REALLY INSPIRED ME. HIS IMAGES ARE SO POWERFUL, SO COLORFUL, SO BEAUTIFUL THAT I FELL IN LOVE. I THINK IT INSPIRED ME TO REACH MY STYLE. AND THEN THERE IS JEREMY LUCIDO WHICH IS THE CREATOR OF THE STARRFUCKER MAGAZINE FROM LOS ANGELES. HE'S A PHOTOGRAPHER WHOSE PHOTOGRAPHY ALWAYS INSPIRED ME. A YEAR AGO HE HAD AN OPEN CALL FOR A COLLABORATIVE ISSUE. HE ASKED EVERYONE TO CREATE SOMETHING TAKING INSPIRATION FROM A PICTURE HE POSTED ON TUMBLR. THAT WAS THE FIRST TIME THAT I CREATED SOMETHING USING MY CURRENT STYLE. HE POSTED THEM AND PUT THEM IN THE MAGAZINE. HE ALSO MADE ENAMEL PINS OF ONE OF MY DRAWINGS, THIS INTERACTION HELPED ME BELIEVE IN MY WORK BECAUSE HE IS SUCH AN IDOL OF MINE. THAT’S HOW I STARTED TO CREATE MY BOYS. MY BOYFRIEND IS NOT THAT HAPPY THAT I CALL THEM MY BOYS.

S: HAVE YOU ALWAYS GRAVITATED TOWARDS DRAWING PEOPLE?

M: I’VE ALWAYS BEEN INSPIRED BY PEOPLE. BEFORE DRAWING I WAS MAKING MORE COLLAGES WITH PHOTOGRAPHS OF MEN. SINCE I STARTED, I’VE HAD AN INTEREST IN DRAWING PEOPLE. IN REAL LIFE, I AM ALWAYS NOTICING BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE. EVEN IN MY GRAPHIC DESIGN I MOST ENJOY CHARACTER DESIGN.

S: SAME, SAME. FOR ME I'M REALLY INTERESTED IN EMOTIONS AND HOW PEOPLE PORTRAY DIFFERENT EMOTIONS THROUGH FACIAL EXPRESSIONS

M: EXACTLY. A FACE CAN SAY SO MUCH.

S: SO, YOU DO COLLAGE AND SOMETIMES RISOGRAPH, BUT HOW DO YOU MOST OFTEN CREATE YOUR BOYS?

M: I START WITH A SKETCH TAKING INSPIRATION FROM MY PHOTO COLLECTIONS. I GATHERED PICTURES FROM INTERNET, INSTAGRAM AND PORNO WHICH I USE AS A REFERENCE FOR POSES AND CHARACTERISTICS AND SUCH. I ALWAYS DRAW MUCH MORE THAN I FINALIZE. THEN, I INK MY FAVORITE ILLUSTRATIONS. MOSTLY I DO IT ANALOGICALLY, BUT SOMETIMES I ALSO DO THE INKING DIGITALLY. THEN I POST-PRODUCE THE DRAWING WITH PHOTOSHOP OR PROCREATE AND I DO THE COLORING DIGITALLY.
MY FINAL ILLUSTRATIONS ARE ALWAYS DIGITAL, BECAUSE IT ALLOWS ME TO REACH THE COLORING AND THE EFFECT I DESIRE. I USE DIFFERENT PRINTING TECHNIQUES BUT MY FAVORITE ONE IS THE RISOGRAPH. I HAVE DONE SEVERAL DRAWINGS THAT WAY. I THINK THAT  IT WORKS REALLY WELL WITH MY ILLUSTRATIONS BECAUSE IT MAKES THE COLORS POP.

S: HOW DO YOU SELL YOUR ART? WHAT DO YOU WISH WAS DIFFERENT?

M: IT’S AN INTERESTING QUESTION BECAUSE NOW A DAYS YOU HAVE TO BE AN ARTIST AND AN ENTREPRENEUR. CURRENTLY, I’VE BEEN ON ETSY FOR OVER A YEAR. I FIND THAT IT WORKS FOR ME. I WOULD SAY IT WORKS BETTER FOR OBJECTS AND MERCHANDISE RATHER THAN ARTWORK, BUT I HAVE BOTH. I HAVE MAGAZINES, POSTCARDS, ARTWORK ETC. I HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT HAVING A PERSONAL WEBSITE IN THE FUTURE. BUT FOR NOW, I AM ON ETSY. I AM ALSO GOING TO MARKETS, BUT IT HAS TO BE THE RIGHT PLACE FOR MY ILLUSTRATIONS. THIS YEAR I WENT TO A MARKET IN BERLIN. NEXT, I WOULD LIKE TO COLLABORATE WITH OTHER WEBSITES.

S: WHAT ARE SOME LINKS FOR US TO FIND YOU AT?

YOU CAN FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM AT @MAGIO_MARCO AND YOU CAN CHECK MY ONLINE SHOP “MAGIOSTORE” ON ETSY.

I RECENTLY RELEASED A SERIES OF ILLUSTRATED T-SHIRTS AND OTHER MERCHANDISE WITH JEREMY LUCIDO TO SUPPORT THE STARRFUCKER TEAM FOR THE AIDS/LIFECYCLE (2ND-8TH JUNE 2019). IT IS A 545-MILE BIKE RIDE TO RAISE FOUND FOR THE LIFE-SAVING SERVICES. I AM REALLY EXCITED ABOUT THIS PROJECT. YOU CAN FIND THE PRODUCTS ONLINE AND SUPPORT THE TEAM.