EtiennebyCal Y. Pygia©
One of Tom of Finland's friends and fellow artists also created gay erotica that featured characters, settings, and themes similar to Tom's. He also signed his work with a pen name, "Etienne," which is the French equivalent for the artist's middle name, Peter. His real name was Dom Orejudos. Born in Chicago in July, 1933, Etienne was friends with Durk Dehner. One day, Durk showed Etienne a line drawing that he'd stolen from a leather bar. The illustration announced a motorcycle club night that the establishment planned to host. Etienne was familiar with the artwork that Dehner showed him. It had been executed by a European artist who signed his work "Tom of Finland." Etienne and Tom were correspondents, and Etienne offered Dehner the European artist's address. Later, Dehner decided to become Tom's full-time manager.
Etienne started publishing his work in the pages of Mars, Triumph, and Rawhide magazines dedicated to the male "physique," which he published.
According to Dehner, Etienne's art was often inspired by ancient Greek and Roman paintings, but he replaced the gods in those paintings with his own "leather-clad tough boys and waterfront thugs." Dehner describes the typical Etienne sketch as featuring "one or more characters as the brunt of" a "joke, many times under severe physical torment, all for the sexual gratification of another of his ruffians." A common theme of Etienne's illustrations, the agent observes, was the involvement of a male character in "bizarre situations" from which "they were only released from the grasp of death or severe sexual punishment by agreeing to perform some perverse, oftentimes hysterically humorous, sexual scenario."
His characters were the same sort as those who appear in Tom's drawings: construction workers, cowboys, laborers, mechanics, ranch hands, military men, and so forth. However, while Tom includes relatively mild elements of BDSM in his work, Etienne's sketches are often extremely sadistic. Some depict fisting, and one even replaces a fist up a character's ass with a foot! Etienne continued to draw such extreme acts of cruelty despite his claim to fear that his work would be misunderstood. He wanted his admirers to understand that he wasn't advocating the behavior his art depicted, insisting that it was intended only as fantasy that had no repercussions or consequences such as these deeds would have were they to be actually put into practice. His art allowed people to imagine the deeds his work portrayed and, therefore, to remain safe.
Tom's art presented visual pantomime in which words were largely absent, an exception being allowed, on occasion, to represent a sound effect. Etienne's work, on the other hand, is often accompanied by text in the form, most often, or running narrative exposition and, less often, of dialogue between characters.
A description of a few of Etienne's works provides an indication as to their nature. In one, a handsome jock in a green football jersey with the number 26 on its back, a jockstrap, and a pair of white socks has been tied to a table. He is also gagged. His upper body rests on its surface, as do his knees and his lower legs, but his hips and buttocks are raised. A bare bulb above him lights the scene, bringing focus to his buttocks. Behind the table, another handsome, muscular man--a brunette with a neat mustache--who wears no shirt and may be naked (the table hides his lower body)--holds his right wrist, the hand of which is clenched in a tight fist. A can of Crisco is on the tabletop, between the athlete's feet. The picture tells the story: the brunette intends to penetrate the bound athlete's anus with his lubricated fist, driving part of his forearm into the other man's rectum.
Another illustration shows two mechanics in a garage. In the background, a car is raised upon a hydraulic lift, and the front end of a second car is parked nearer to the couple, one of whom, standing, wears only a cap and an unbuttoned, open work shirt. His monster-size cock and balls are on display, his penis, which is almost as thick as his powerful wrist, reaching nearly to his knees. As is the case with many of Etienne's drawings, the dominant male is dark haired, and he has hair on his chest, stomach, pubes, arms, and legs, and the submissive male is blond with much less body hair. In fact, in this drawing, the only body hair the submissive blond has is on pubes and his lower calves. His chest and stomach, like his arms and most of his legs, are smooth and hairless. His physique, however, is firm and muscular, although not quite as buff as the brunette's body. The blond sits on the floor, beside the dark-haired man, the latter's hand around the back of the blond's head. Reaching between the brunette's thighs, the seated man's hand lies along the other's penis and groin. Unlike the dark-haired, alpha male, the blond wears neither a cap nor a shirt; he is altogether naked, except for a pair of socks. (For some reason, Etienne seems to prefer his characters to wear socks even if they wear nothing else.) The alpha male tells the man seated at his feet, "Forget the coveralls. Get down there and check out my hotrod." The blond, eyeing the dominant man's massive cock, replies, "Looks fine to me, sir. Maybe it could use some lubrication."
A third illustration shows a dark-haired man, wearing an unbuttoned, open white shirt, the sleeves of which are also unbuttoned, a loosened black tie, and a pair of black socks, seated at a desk smoking a cigarette. His massive prick is still erect, and semen drips from the tip of its glans. Tied to the handle of the middle drawer, a strand of twine ends in a circle knotted behind the balls and the upper side of the base of the cock of a kneeling blond man. The blond wears the cap of an enlisted sailor and a pair of dog tags. Semen drips from his lips. On the floor, an officer's cap appears beside the desk, indicating the general rank of the dark-haired, alpha male. On the floor in front of the kneeling sailor, a "Grievance Report" lies in a shredded heap. The picture tells its own story: in exchange for a blowjob, the officer has rescinded the report he'd threatened to file against the enlisted man for some infraction of the Navy's rules of conduct. The dominant male is brunette and the submissive male is blond, as usual in Etienne's art. Although there is some suggestion of hair on the officer's chest and belly and there is hair on his pubes, he is not as hirsute as the alpha male typically tends to be in Etienne's illustrations. However, the submissive male is not only blond, as is the usual case in the artist's pictures, but he is also entirely hairless, other than his blond crew cut: even his pubes are shaved.
One of the artist's most brutal works of art involves a foursome among two (and possibly three) Navy officers and an enlisted man. (The fourth male is represented only by his lower legs, which intrude upon the drawing from its left edge.) The enlisted sailor, again a blond, kneels, leaning forward to suck the cock of the officer who is seated at his head, naked from the waist down, with his legs lifted and spread, heels resting upon the submissive man's shoulders, to allow the blond access to his prick. While he gives head to the officer in front of him, the enlisted man holds the bare foot of the man whose legs appear at the left side of the drawing. On the other foot, the man wears a black sock. Seated upon a block, behind the sailor, another officer, also naked from the waist down, holds his upright cock, which is improbably long, thick, and rigid, masturbating, while he inserts his calf ankle-deep inside the hugely stretched anus of the blond, foot-fucking him. The sailor's own cock doesn't show, but his balls are visible between his wide-parted thighs. This picture is a good example of the extreme, reckless sadism that Etienne's illustrations sometimes include and for which he has been censured, if not censored. It seems difficult to accept his professed concern at being regarded as advocating such truly obscene acts when it is a matter of his choice as to whether to illustrate them or not. Certainly Tom of Finland's work does not depict sadism of such extremes, although it is not devoid of a certain level of cruelty and brutality.
Etienne was a consummate illustrator, but he was also an accomplished ballet dancer, choreographer, and businessman. With his lifetime business and domestic partner, photographer Chuck Renslow, Etienne also owned and operated magazines and Chicago's Gold Coast Leather Bar, where, starting in 1979, they hosted the annual International Mr. Leather contest, which continues to this day. Etienne died in September, 1991, at the age of 58.