The Artist

Talk to Me

May 26, 2018


With a sad heart, we are letting you know that

artist Michael Kirwan passed away peacefully

on the morning of Saturday, May 26, 2018,

in Los Angeles, California.


Hoist a glass and make a toast

in celebration of the life of a

great and unique man

as well as an amazing artist.



Michael was born December 27th, 1953.  He lived a life filled with joys, passions, family, friends, and art.  Michael resided in New York, New York; Miami, Florida; and most recently, Los Angeles, California.  Creating his art was his most passionate activity, but he also enjoyed socializing, cooking, intimate encounters, movies, sharing his opinions, and being an astute observer and recorder of life.




While Michael’s artistic talents surfaced early, life had a way of forcing real-world responsibilities on a young Michael. Yes, he was married early in his life and was pleased to have fathered a son.  As Michael was reaching his late twenties, his marriage ended and he began a new, queer life that brought comfort within himself and adventures that would make for raucous stories for decades to come.


Michael always had a gift for telling and writing stories, but it was his illustrations and drawings that would give his friends and fans the clearest window into Michael’s thoughts and his heart.  His first published work of art appeared in PlayGuy magazine in 1980, and getting paid to create art was Michael’s sweetest dream come true.  Through the late 1980’s until the mid 2000’s, Michael’s highly detailed and evocative art was published in more than 600 magazines.  There were periods of the 1990’s when Michael’s art appeared in as many as six different magazines per month.  The art was gay, straight, fetish, hardcore, and promotional to illustrate fiction, comics, and real life.  Michael was incredibly prolific and his talent grew and became more and more popular with fans, readers, and art collectors.




Michael’s works of art have appeared in galleries and exhibitions around the world.  After moving to California, he spent a year as the Artist in Residence with the Tom of Finland Foundation.  Michael enjoyed an inspirational relationship with the work and history of Tom and a very supportive relationship with the people of his Foundation who are dedicated to the education and preservation of erotic art for all artists.  These years would provide Michael with the most important friendships and partnerships, and during this time, Michael created the best work of his life.  Through that association, Michael appeared at internationally attended events and exhibitions that brought new admirers to his work and his Grand Persona as an artist.


Collectors with great taste and savvy expertise from across the globe have purchased Michael’s original works.  After the adult magazine publishers faltered against the internet, Michael drew for his pleasure, to pay rent, and for fans commissioning unique and always interesting erotic scenes via his website  Michael always felt he was visually documenting every variety and scenario in gay and straight sexual activities.  His inspirations for drawing his characters came from the everyday, regular people he would encounter on the streets, on the bus, throughout parks and markets, in seedy bars, and in dark alleys where names were not exchanged but furtive fun was found.  Michael’s drawings exposed the fevered excitement and erotic beauty in every body and face.  Michael always said he did not draw “pretty” guys because he knew regular guys had better sex.




Selections of Michael’s works have appeared in numerous books, but a highlight for him came in 2011 as a broad retrospective of his paintings was published in a monograph book titled Just So Horny.  The obvious theme tying the works together was Michael’s obsessive attention to details, patterns, and backgrounds.  The characters he drew were front and center, but Michael gave them life in a rich and colorful environment he painted on paper as he created the elaborate backstories in his head.  Much of Michael’s work was created with fine-point watercolor brushes, making thin lines and blending an abundance of colors and layers, to make fantasies filled with his humor and wry sense of style leaping from the page.  Michael rarely drew in front of anyone because he preferred solitude as he worked hunched over an art pad straining and crossing his eyes as he would create minute details and repeating patterns as fabrics and tile works setting a stage for his horny creations.


Michael wanted everyone to buy erotic art

(most especially his, of course)

and hang it where it should be seen by all.







(from 2016)

    Michael Kirwan was born in New York City on December 27th, 1953. He was the middle child of Patrick and Mildred Kirwan, he from New York, she from Pensacola, Florida. Raised in the Washington Heights district of New York, Michael attended the St. Rose of Lima Catholic school from first through fifth grades.  Even though he rarely had art supplies,  from an early age he drew on paper bags with ballpoint pens and filled small steno pads with drawings. He was buck-toothed and regularly called a sissy but didn’t really care as long as he could draw more inviting worlds on the A&P bags that came from the supermarket. He became part of an innovative program developed by the Archdiocese of New York whereby particularly bright boy students would be taught rigorous, in-depth college courses by the Christian Brothers. So he spent the sixth, seventh and eighth grades travelling downtown to West 83rd street to attend the Monsignor Kelly experimental school. Here his artistic abilities were recognized and he flourished in somewhat adult academic setting. Upon graduation however, he found that there was no available next step, and was horrified when he started freshman year at Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx and understood that he’d have to endure four years of being badly taught what he already knew by inferior teachers. Young Mr. Kirwan became irreverent, manipulative and displayed a caustic wit when insulting his “superiors” at every opportunity. He treated his high schools years as a long cosmic joke and was one of the featured regulars in “detention”.

     While still at Spellman, Michael married his high school sweetheart and six months later became a father. Later that year he was denied a diploma because he had hurled a jelly donut at the back of his religious instructor’s head (she an ex-nun). With a family to support Michael worked in the shipping and receiving area at Gimbels department store. He stayed there from 1973-1979. His marriage dissolved under the combined weight of his irresponsible attitude and continuing homosexual shenanigans. In 1980, embracing his newly found gay identity, he went to work at the St. Marks Baths, a sperm-splashed institution in the East Village. Michael rose through the ranks quickly from laundry boy to management through being an incapable/inept but endearing presence nonetheless. Encouraged by Bruce Mailman, owner of both the baths and the magnificent and historic “Saint” dance club, Michael rediscovered art and in particular his skill at drawing the naked men surrounding him at work. In 1986, Michael realized that the AIDS epidemic would soon end the heydays at the tubs. It was during this time that his works were first published in STROKE magazine. He next worked for about two years at a porn video distributorship (GVC) before the company profits vanished up the executive’s nostrils.

       In 1988 he got a call from a friend in Miami. Michael moved to Florida and became a chef at the highly regarded STRAND restaurant, the pioneering establishment in the revitalization campaign afoot in South Beach. Popular, inventive and held in high esteem, he was fired in 1990. The owners gave him a special bonus, and Michael decided that with six months of bills taken care of, he’d try his hand at self-employment, illustrating for skin rags. Since that time his work has appeared in FRESHMEN, TORSO, GENT, PLAYGUY, SUGAH, MANDATE, INCHES, CAVALIER, HONCHO, NUGGET and countless other magazines. He’s had individual shows at the Tom of Finland Company in Los Angles, the Peter Madero Gallery in NY, and the Dakota Bar on Second Avenue as well as appearing in group showcases in Portland and Miami. His images have circulated all over the world and his original drawings are highly sought after by collectors. Fans of his work have flocked to his web site and left loving tributes to his undeniable talents. Michael Kirwan is a sparkling and amazing man, a true original, and I’m so grateful for these many, many years to have had the chance to be him.


Read an interview with

Michael Kirwan

published in 2003 for

 Honcho Magazine


 Article #1


Read the musings of

Michael Kirwan

published in the Dispatch.


 Article #2


Read an essay by

Michael Kirwan

published for the Leslie-Lohman Gay Art Foundation.


 Article #3


Read an interview of

Michael Kirwan

published for

by Joe Flazh!.


 Article #4


Read an interview with

Michael Kirwan

published in 2001 for

Playguy's 25th Anniversary.


 Article #5



Personal Photo Album




Michael Kirwan Erotic Drawings Mike Kirwan  commission art  Los Angeles California  alternate spell Micheal Kirwin


The Artist

Talk to Me

original illustrations cartoons adult porn magazines gay straight images depicting sex cruising encounters public & private



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