Danimal style: Gay Beast’s Daniel Leudtke on printing, porn, punk…And being spit roasted by two doctors

By June 24, 2010
Danimal style: Gay Beast’s Daniel Leudtke on printing, porn, punk…And being spit roasted by two doctors
Gay beast's Danimal & his art (inset)

I’m really excited for Friday, July 9th when SEANCARNAGE.COM hosts the parties of the summer.

That’s right—”parties”—plural.

The first is a 6pm reception and art show featuring the luscious prints of Daniel Leudtke, aka Danimal, at the world-renowned Tom of Finland Foundation in Echo Park. I don’t think there’s ever been a rock ‘n roll party at this bastion of gay fetish culture, and that’s very exciting.

“Tom is a big influence,” confesses Leudtke from his studio in Minneapolis. “I always appreciated how personal all the Tom of Finland artwork was. You can tell that these are Tom’s personal fantasies set to paper, and they translate so well. They are wildly entertaining. I aspire to make my artwork as personal as Tom’s, while still giving my viewers enough bang to keep them entertained.”

Oh yes—speaking of bang—July 9th ends with an insanely ripping 9pm Pehr show featuring Danimal’s band, Gay Beast, as well as XBXRX, Sister Fucker, Raw War and NASA Space Universe.

“I never understood why punk rock has become so out of favor with many gays,” shrugs Leudtke. “We all weren’t born with a Lady Gaga-loving gene.”

Photo: Tom Wallace, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Poster artist Danimal is at the leading edge of graphic art in the 21st Century.

The Minneapolis native creates incredible collages of geometric shapes, bright colors, kitsch, and porn and then prints the intricate design through an elaborate screen printing process.

Dan manages to do this while also leading one of America’s best bands, Gay Beast.

Here’s what Dan had to say about his art, Tom of Finland and the July 9th festivities in L.A.

What’s your name, how old are you, where were you born and where do you live now?
Hi! My name is Daniel Luedtke. My nickname is Danimal… sometimes it’s shortened to DNML

How would you describe your visual aesthetic?
Colorful, Geometric…abstract stuff meets gay/feminist/kitsch

What is/are your most commonly used medium/media?
Silkscreen for the most part. Sometimes I do drawings and I’m getting into video, which I’m excited about.

How did you get into making posters? Which was your first?
I started making flyers, and then posters for my band Gay Beast. I realized that I really liked making posters after I made a Dan Deacon / Gay Beast poster with doilies…and I geeked out drawing all the lettering.

What poster is your most recent?
I just made a poster for a local experimental music festival here in Minneapolis called Heliotrope. Working on a poster for a monthly queer party I help throw called Pegasus. It’s our gay pride / dyke march after party and the theme is “soft-core.”

Who are your biggest visual inspirations currently and why?
And as far as musical inspirations? Visual inspirations are far and wide. Well…TOM of course, but also a lot of ’60s and ’70s printmakers like Eduardo Paolozzi, Kiyoshi Awazu, and Tadanori Yokoo…and a lot of video art. I love me some videos by Nate Boyce, Animal Charm and Ximena Cuevas.

Music…. I end up listening to a lot of synth-pop and dance music while I work. Stuff like Fad Gadget, Solvent, and DEVO (my favorite band)… but when not working, I enjoy more out-there stuff like U.S. Girls, Arab on Radar (read the exclusive interview), and Sightings.

Do you make your living in music or art or both or neither? How does a poster artist/musician survive?
Sort of yes, and sort of no. I have a part time job working with six adults with disabilities. This provides me with about 1/2 my income, and the other half comes from graphic design/illustration, print commissions and print sales. As far as the band stuff… it seems to be just where I want it, self-sustaining. The money earned by shows and merch seems to be just enough for our jam-space rent, supplies, gas and van maintenance.

What are your thoughts and impressions of Tom of Finland?
Tom is a big influence. I could never ever draw as well as Tom, so I am forced to approach things differently. I always appreciated how personal all the TOF artwork was. You can tell that these are Tom’s personal fantasies set to paper, and they translate so well. They are wildly entertaining. I aspire to make my artwork as personal as Tom’s, while still giving my viewers enough bang to keep them entertained.

When did you first draw sexually explicit art?
It was a flyer for a gay party! I copied the Tom drawing with a guy in space who is holding the earth, as if to fuck it.. I redrew that drawing but gave Tom’s figure E.T.’s head. The party was called “My Jazzy Crotch”.

When is the first time you put sex or dicks or ass on one of your posters? How was that received?
Whenever I put a dick in my posters or prints, it’s usually pretty successful. The first time was a tour poster for my friends’ band Neptune. The drummer is gay, and he wanted their poster to be “hella gay” so I drew a huge jack-o-lantern staring at a muscle bear.

I just did a collaborative print with my friend Anna Tsantir where we collaged a bunch of torsos penetrating cocks going into assholes to form these semi-abstract fucking totems. Then each of the three fucking totems are sitting inside a fantastical geometric landscape. It’s hard to explain, but I thought it was an interesting balance of figurative, abstract and geometric forms.

I did a second tour print for my friends in the band Neptune that was pretty racy. It involved pairing two humungous day-glow cocks with striped ball-sacks with a drawing of a 16th century witch, followed by a pack of dogs. Oh! And the cocks are on fire! I had been having a lot of bad sex at the time, so I wanted to create a very colorful bad sex omen.

What other artists are you closest to? Certainly there can’t be too many gay rock ‘n roll printmakers…
I am currently blessed to be living with two talented printmakers and graphic artists: Casey Deming and Dan Black of Landland. It’s a big house of poster nerds. Minneapolis is a really big screen printing and poster town. When I was teaching myself how to print, I would often contact people like Aesthetic Apparatus, or Burlesque Design, or Dale Flattum to ask them technical questions and the like. I am still very much in contact with many of the poster artists here in town, and we’re always keeping each other on our toes.

As far as gay poster artists. Yeah. There’s like…none. It’s kind of sad. There are very few women in the scene, and even fewer fags. I actually only know of one, Walter Scott from Montreal, who also plays in a really great punk band called Dead Wife. I never understood why punk rock has become so out of favor with many gays. We all weren’t born with a Lady Gaga-loving gene.

What are your big projects now and for the rest of the year?
I’m curating a print show for the Mid America Print Council here in Minneapolis. It’s a big regional print conference and I’m setting up a show of silk screened art prints that were made by people who primarily do poster work. I’m working on a few album covers, hammering out the script for a futuristic porno with my boyfriend, and probably applying to some graduate schools.

Sailors, soldiers, bikers…which would you choose?
Bikers of course. They’re the most punk, and I have a particular fascination with boots.

What’s your favorite Tom of Finland scenario? Have you ever tried to re-create that in real life?
I love Tom’s depictions of group sex. In the comic Kake, there’s this amazing strip with an office orgy. I haven’t ever taken part in an orgy, but I was spit-roasted by two doctors once. That was fun.

Whoa—what? So what can we expect at your Tom of Finland reception and showing?
There is going to be a mix of erotic, and more abstract work. Probably just a few posters, and mostly art prints.

And what about from Gay Beast at Pehrspace?
We have been writing new material furiously. The newer songs are a little more hypnotic and melodic, although still weird. Expect a short set, with dense jams and some strobe.

And where would your dream after party be?
A dirty back room of course!

Mark your calendars. Friday, July 9, is the party night of the summer. SEANCARNAGE.COM is hosting TWO very special events:

Please join us in honoring the hard work of artist Daniel Luedtke (aka Danimal or DNML) from the band Gay Beast at a special summer cocktail party!

Starts at 6pm…

Admission includes

-A showing of Dan’s incredible screen art
-Tours of the world-famous (but rarely seen) Tom of Finland Foundation
-Dancing with DJ Kyle Mabson
-Cocktails & vegan food from Chef Joshua Ploeg
-A limited edition Danimal/Tom of Finland print
-Limited shuttle service from Tom’s dungeon to 9pm Pehrspace concert (see details below)
-A tax-deductible donation to the Tom of Finland Foundation, the world’s repository for erotic art

$15 / 18+ only / 1421 Laveta Terrace in Echo Park

Then at 9pm…

Gay Beast
XBXRX
Sister Fucker (members of Child Pornography, High Castle & Coughs)
Raw War
NASA Space Universe

All-ages / $5 (free for art reception attendees)

Pehrspace—325 Glendale Blvd.

RSVP for the 6pm Danimal art show & cocktail reception here

RSVP for the 9pm Pehrspace show here

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