I learned the meaning of what to me was a new concept — non-binary — while I was in San Francisco attending the 2017 Queers & Comics conference. I became a conference sponsor and traveled to San Francisco from Las Vegas attend because I support and encourage queer art and artists.
Turns out that I was totally unaware of rapidly-expanding and self-referential vocabularies available nowadays to describe all things queer or gay. But, that may be understandable because my focus is on visual storytelling.
Happily I lost my naïveté in San Francisco because I become a sponsor and attended the Queers & Comics conference at California College of the Arts. My main motivation to go was so that I could meet the celebrated artist Gengoroh Tagame from Japan.***
Here I captured the unforgettable moment when Tagame clarified for a large San Francisco audience that he never intended his very explicit Human Carrot visual story to be for all ages:
Tagame stands as the strongest influence upon me as an artist and my visual works more than Tom of Finland, Dom “Etienne” Orejudos, and Greasetank, who are no longer with us. At the moment I got to speak to Tagame, eye-to-eye, I was overcome with joyful emotion. In the decade that I’ve been creating visual works for gay men, I never could have even dared to imagine meeting Tagame in person like I did. See examples of my sequential art (as in comics) in which I emulate Tagame’s sensibilities and style.
His art was on display in San Francisco at California College of the Arts during the Queers & Comics conference:
*** When I first saw Tagame in San Francisco, I could not believe that I was sharing the same space and time with him. He means that much to me! I was instantly choked-up with strong emotions. Tagame is one of the heroes of underground art that I have—a short list of men, most of whom are no longer living. I never imagined that I would get the opportunity to meet and talk with Tagame and I will never forget this rare moment in my life.