As part of our commitment to protect, preserve and promote the erotic arts for three and a half decades, Tom of Finland Foundation is making online galleries of our erotic art collection available to the public. Patrons of The World of TOM Patreon will receive the first look.
The artist Bastille was born Frank Webber in Hackensack, NJ on 14th July 1929. He was adopted by a wealthy NJ family and raised in Westwood, NJ. He studied illustration at Pratt Institute and in 1955 moved to Paris on scholarship to study metal engraving with John Friedlander. Beginning in New York and later in Europe he worked as a fashion illustrator. Later he developed a thriving business as an architectural illustrator, which remained his principal occupation for the rest of his life. In the ’60s, he published some drawings of cyclists in small American physique magazines under the name “Bal.” In the ’80s he took the name Bastille because he was born on Bastille Day and was then living near the Place Bastille. At this time he started to produce the incredible gouache paintings for which he is known. His work regularly appeared in the early, and best, issues of TOY and Mr. SM, published by Michael Holm.
Cited influences on his work have been the writers Jean Genet, William Burroughs, and Pierre Guyotat, and the artists Nigel Kent, Paul Cadmus, Rex, and the early work of Andy Warhol (probably his gold-leaf male nudes). Skinheads often appear in his work but with no affinity to musical trends or political movements, either fascist or green. He is said to have loathed the concept of gay culture. He was simply very fond of lewd, filthy-looking, straight-acting, manly guys with shaved heads and pubes. Bastille’s love of rubber dates from his childhood memory of used condoms found in lovers lanes. Black rubber did not especially intrigue him. He haunted hardware stores and loved to invent sex toys from the materials he discovered—tubes, etc.
Bastille died in Dijon, France on 5th November 1990, from AIDS-related leukemia. He is buried in Dijon.
Several exhibitions in Amsterdam and New York as well as numerous publications by Revolt Press in Sweden, introduced his work to an enthusiastic audience. After his death, he quickly became an icon of many homo-cult-groups who had tired of the prudism-wave that dominated homo culture throughout the ’80s.
SEE MORE OF BASTILLE’S LETTERS TO NIGEL KENT
Published: 9th April 2021Tags: Art & Artists Gallery, Bastille