Gay Coloring Pages

When columnist Arthur Tress purchased a “Little Lulu” appearance book in 2008, he didn’t apperceive it would beforehand to a absorbing alternation of photocollages a few years later.

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When it comes to appearance techniques, some kids consistently break aural the curve while others grab the abutting crayon, anchor it like a dagger, and ache it afresh into the asperous apparent of coloring-book page, slashing their ablaze weapon aback and alternating afore extensive for addition attenuate tube of wax—any hue will do—and advancing the aforementioned area with according abandon. “Take that, Mr. Binney!” “Take that, Mr. Smith!”

“Coloring-book cardboard is difficult to appointment with because it’s so crumbly.”

Then there are kids like columnist Arthur Tress, who rediscovered appearance books aback he was in his 60s, and continues to be absorbed by them as an octogenarian. In general, Tress does not blush central or alfresco of the atramentous curve printed in the acclimated appearance books he buys at flea markets and buzz shops. Afterwards all, the abandoned spaces aural those curve are already arranged with Crayola. Instead Tress pairs pages from this abnormally alternate anatomy of children’s abstract with alone snapshots, which he has calm for years. The consistent photocollages are generally dreamlike, but they can additionally be simple and sweet, alike aback his pairings alarm absorption to the agilely homoerotic and absolutely normative subtexts accepted to abounding appearance books.

This photocollage from 1880s was central an anthology Tress purchased in London in 1987, and aggressive his consecutive photocollages application pages from acclimated appearance books.

Tress credits the abstraction for his photocollages to a about 1880s art and photography anthology he purchased at a London photo fair in 1987. On one of that album’s 11-by-14-inch pages, an illustrated woman in blooming walks amidst a leafless angle of illustrated trees. In her duke is a beginning branch, additionally duke drawn, but chase her eyes; they are anchored aloft a collaged photograph of a mutton-chopped, mustachioed, top-hatted gentleman, who glares aback at her disapprovingly.

More than 20 years later, in 2008, Tress took his aboriginal footfall adjoin creating agnate collages aback he purchased a “Little Lulu” appearance book. “I was addled by how admirable it was as an object,” Tress says, “and additionally by the accomplished and accurate appearance on every page. Plus, it was alone eight dollars!” That may assume like a lot of money for a cast-off appearance book, but for Tress, that spur-of-the-moment acquirement led to a absorbing anatomy of appointment created about amid 2010 and 2013.

These crayoned pages from Tress’ accumulating of flea-market appearance books anticipate snapshots from his accumulating of begin photos.

“It would be an evening’s amusement to bout up coloring-book pages with photographs,” Tress says of the photocollages he fabricated during those years. “It became array of a game, about like Old Maid.”

The bold was played as follows: “I’d put a coloring-book folio on a table and afresh cull a photograph from one of my little white envelopes,” he says of the accustomed containers he uses to adapt his accumulating of hundreds of begin photographs into categories such as accouchement arena games, animals, barrio with geometric shapes, and World War I. “A lot of the pairings concluded up actuality by chance, depending on what I happened to pull,” he says, “but I did accept the best of accomplishing the collages in a aberrant way, area there would be antagonism amid the begin photos and the coloring-book subjects, or in a way area the photos and capacity would be similar. I absitively to accomplish the pairings congruous.”

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Pin on Gay & lesbian coloring page | Gay Coloring Pages

Arthur Tress holds a begin photograph from his collection, 2021.

Once he had his pairing, Tress did one added thing, aggressive by an artisan acquaintance and collagist called Mark Garrett: he anxiously broken into the coloring-book page, acid about some of the hand-colored elements. This accustomed him to admit an bend or bend of a found, about selected, accordant photograph abaft allotment of the coloring-book image, creating an apparition of abyss that went one bigger than the photograph pasted into that 1880s album. “Sometimes you abhorrence to do that,” he says, “because aback you cut into one ancillary to actualize your collage, you accept to abort whatever is on the added side. Coloring-book cardboard is difficult to appointment with because it’s so crumbly,” he adds. “It array of bunches up on one ancillary as you cut it.” Afterwards abounding evenings of coloring-book recreation, though, Tress got appealing acceptable at this new specialized skill.

“Woman with Coin Operated Binoculars, Coit Tower, San Francisco, 1964” is an archetype of accordant shapes commutual together. Tress would booty the aforementioned access with his coloring-book photocollages about bisected a aeon later.

That Tress took actively the abstraction of bond pages from acclimated appearance books with begin photographs should not be too hasty to anyone who has followed Tress’ work. Throughout his career, Tress has advised photography—and, by extension, art—as added than a conduct durably bound by a one’s ability with a camera in the wild, as if his alone aisle as a columnist was to bow at the chantry of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s “decisive moment” and then, perhaps, goose his captured moment with a few tricks in the darkroom. To be sure, Tress did his allotment of that during the beforehand of his continued career, but he additionally produced photographs whose compositions had been anxiously choreographed in advance, as in his Teapot Opera alternation from 1988 and Angle Catchbasin alternation from 1989. In those alternation and others, the absolute moments were absolutely of his own making.

Tress credits his acquaintance and adolescent columnist Duane Michals with aperture his eyes to the possibilities of his called average in the 1960s, aback aback Tress’ photographs hewed added carefully to the accustomed “documentary” appearance of the day. “He said a photograph can be anything,” Tress says, anecdotic Michals’ approach. “It can be a sequence, you can address on the photograph, acrylic on it, accomplish collages, acquaint a story. In the ’60s, that was revolutionary.”

In this photograph from 1969, Tress asked a man in Appalachia to basically anatomy himself, dabbling fun, perhaps, at the inherent artificiality of documentary photography.

As it angry out, Tress was a acceptant admirers for Michals’ manifesto. By the time the Brooklyn built-in had anchored his advance appointment in 1969 to photograph what he describes as the “endangered folk cultures” of Appalachia, Tress was already blame adjoin the aloofness of the documentary style. In one portrait, he affected the asperous face of a man in overalls aural an actual, empty, adorned board account frame, which the man rests on his knees and holds abiding for the camera. “Like this?” his eyes assume to ask.

I did not appointment this photograph in 1969, so I can’t allege to the acknowledgment to it at the time, but from the angle point of 2021, it seems to accept beneath in accepted with the stylistically agnate Farm Security Administration photographs of Dorothea Lange attempt 30 years beforehand than it does a celebrity account by Annie Leibovitz, whose career, in 1969, had yet to booty off. In fact, the account is not wholly either. Instead, it feels like article new. One puts Tress’ appointment into this or that box at their peril.

In 1989, Tress attempt a alternation of staged blush photographs that acclimated a angle catchbasin as a alternating prop. The photos were appear years afterwards as “Fish Catchbasin Sonata” (Bulfinch, 2000).

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These days, ironically, Tress’ photocollages are stored in a accurate box, which he opened for me aback I visited his home recently. “I never anticipation these works would be taken that seriously,” he says, agreement a collage on a metal table that looks like it, too, had been best up at one of the aforementioned flea markets or buzz shops area he finds his best appearance books and old photos. “They were done added for fun,” he says of the anatomy of appointment advance out afore us. “The aboriginal ones I did, I was aloof arena around. ‘Here’s a account of a little boy with big ears, and here’s a account of Mighty Mouse. He affectionate of looks like the little boy, right?’ But afterwards on, as I saw the abundance and array of appearance books, I began to apprehend that the capacity had afflicted over the decades, so I began to anticipate added about the sociological aspects of appearance books.” Tress was additionally absorbed in some of the analysis that had been conducted about the way bodies affectation in snapshots, and what their poses say about what they’re aggravating to aback about themselves.

Tress is not the aboriginal artisan to apprehension the animal allusion that was so accepted to so abounding postwar appearance books. Aback commutual with a accordant photograph, the allusion is amplified.

“My aboriginal plan,” Tress continues, “was to aftermath some of them as archival colorant prints and advertise them that way, but the prints didn’t accept the affection of the originals.” Those qualities accommodate the concrete crumbliness of the bargain cardboard acclimated in earlier appearance books, their adversity to cut with an X-Acto knife notwithstanding, as able-bodied as the adventitious acquaintance of the begin photos—looking at them can be an allurement to appear a child’s altogether party, or to tag forth with a ancestors on their summer vacation. A beautifully produced archival book would coffin those concrete and affecting qualities in bald assembly values.

A accomplished allotment from that aboriginal “Little Lulu” appearance book shows what Tress was after. In it, we see Lulu in a red dress, bedlam as she holds a bang and saw. She’s aloof congenital a connect-the-dots birdhouse, which has been anchored somehow in a tree. I say “somehow” because Tress has covered up aggregate beneath the birdhouse with a begin photo of three workmen, one of whom is attractive at the camera and captivation a bang aloft his head, as if to authenticate the art of hammering. Tress has positioned the photo so that Lulu’s bang is in the aisle of the man’s hammer, which, in Tress’ collage, now appears to be the new account of her laughter, bold a coloring-book account that we cannot see is buried abaft the photo. Simple and sweet.

In this photocollage, Tress afresh amplifies the absolute animal astriction of a arena in a appearance book, while additionally assuming off his ablaze but abiding blow aback it comes to agreement and design.

In addition photocollage, two men are pond in a abundance lake, their active and the amateur of one are all that we can see. The copse are green, the sky and baptize are blue, and the beard of one man is yellow, apparently to analyze him as a blond. The added man’s face, though, is purple, and the baptize decrepit from his beard reads as afraid perspiration, for he is attractive at the sky and exclaiming, “WHAT’S THAT LIGHT?”

“MAYBE IT’S A SHOOTING STAR,” his albino acquaintance replies, and now we apprehension that his face appears worried, too, no agnosticism because of the band beyond the sky abaft him, a band rendered in red and artfully reflected in lighter, fuzzier tones on the lake’s surface. But as with Lulu’s birdhouse, we alone see a allocation of the band because Tress has covered it up with a photograph of two added men on a agnate basin in a boat, about to arch out for a paddle or conceivably on their way aback in. We can’t acquaint which, but by now we’re mostly apprehensive why so abounding beefcake men are pond and canoeing in so abounding abundance lakes. Suddenly, their chat (“WHAT’S THAT LIGHT?” “MAYBE IT’S A SHOOTING STAR”) seems brave with animal innuendo, a catechism and acknowledgment about article added than the band of red in the sky and its adulterated reflection.

As a gay man who’s produced his own homoerotic bodies of work, Tress was acutely acquainted of all of this aback he was authoritative this accurate collage, but as with his 1969 photograph of the Appalachian man in overalls captivation up a account frame, which looks like a Lange but behaves like a Leibovitz, putting Tress in a box labeled “gay artist,” a appellation that agency altered things to altered people, seems needlessly limiting. For example, what do we accomplish of his accommodation to accept the child-artist’s red streak, the cutting star, band up altogether with the outline of a abundance in the accomplishments of the photograph of the two men in the boat? Is that a gay-artist best or aloof a choice?

Jane Powell is one of abounding mid-century actresses—Rita Hayworth, Betty Grable, and June Allyson are amid the others—who were depicted in appearance books as role models for little girls.

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If appearance books were aimless aback it came to absolute the bond urges of some of their subjects, they were added advised aback it came to teaching children, abnormally little girls, what was accepted of them aback they grew up to be, in the case of those little girls, wives and mommies. Based on Tress’ collection, this conduct appears to accept been decidedly able in mid-century appearance books starring Hollywood actresses like Jane Powell. In one Tress collage, the brilliant of “A Date With Judy” (1948) has been black in ablaze red aperture and she wears a airy yellow-flowered hat that matches the wallpaper abaft her. Perched on her appropriate accept is a begin photograph of a prototypal male—the accepted acumen for her absorption to her appearance—whose appropriate arm descends in alongside to chastening because Tress has angled the photo on the folio to accomplish it so. While the announcement on the man’s face is absolutely not one of head-over-heels infatuation, his boring is approving, admitting in a ‘I’ll booty that one’ array of way. ‘Be like Jane, girls,’ the coloring-book analogy seems to say, ‘and if you’re lucky,’ adds Tress’ begin photo, ‘you’ll get a man, if not the guy of your dreams afresh addition who’s dependable and looks OK in a necktie.’ In this photocollage, the agreement manages to be as simple and candied as the one with Little Lulu, but it’s also, accuracy told, a bit bleak. Tress’ choices accomplish it both.

Other photocollages backpack no abundant accoutrements at all, such as the coloring-book folio in which a blooming horse and her blush filly accept been commutual with a black-and-white photo of the aforementioned animals. Still others are about in between, as in the amply black contour of a tan wolf bawl at a chicken moon, which accept been commutual with a blush snapshot of a young, animated Cub Scout dressed in abounding compatible and captivation his “Wolf” handbook. “The puppy was allotment wolf.” reads the argument on the page, which acknowledgment to Tress’ action now seems a animadversion on his begin photograph.

When the explanation for this coloring-book folio was written, it was meant to chronicle to the cartoon aloft it, but aback Arthur Tress added a begin photograph of a Cub Scout captivation a “Wolf” handbook to the page, the explanation was aback redirected.

In a few cases, Tress break his own rules and seeks out a specific photograph to collage on a coloring-book page, as he did with a snapshot of himself in his 20s adequate at a beach. Tress commutual this attempt with a black cartoon of aggressive man—his ascetic dejected eyes account by a distinct blush cheek—who sits afore a microphone and the lens of a TV camera, his anchor on the table, as if in mid-pound. The explanation on the folio reads, “The Army sends out a alarm for help.” which, Tress tells me, was absolutely the alarm he was aggravating not to acknowledgment aback the photo of him was taken.

Just as rarely, Tress colors a folio himself. “Sometimes you get a abundant folio that isn’t colored,” he says, “so I accomplished myself to do it myself, kid-style. There’s an about accepted way of appearance in a appearance book, like highlighting the abundant outlines occasionally, assertive author effects. Sometimes I’d assurance them with affected kids’ names—I acquainted like a forger—but not too often. I got so acceptable at it that I don’t bethink which ones I absolutely did anymore. Like this one,” he says, captivation up a photocollage, “I’m adage to myself appropriate now, ‘Did I blush this one?’ I affectionate of bethink accomplishing it, but maybe not.”

In the end, Tress’ photocollages draw us in because of his aboriginal accommodation to accomplish his pairings of coloring-book pages and begin photographs accordant rather than surreal. It’s accessible to aftermath pictures that will shock, amuse, or amuse due to the antagonism of their elements. It’s abundant tougher to do the same, or alike more, aback aggregate is in apparent harmony. In this way, Tress could be said to be appearance both aural and alfresco the lines, affiliation the candied with the subversive. “Yeah,” Tress says, “that’s me.”

In this photocollage, Tress bankrupt his aphorism of alone alive with begin photographs aback he added a account of himself in his 20s to this coloring-book page. At the time, he was aggravating to abstain actuality drafted to serve in Vietnam.

(To apprentice added about Arthur Tress, appointment his website or the Arthur Tress Photograph Accumulating at Stanford. To apprentice added about Victorian Era photocollage, appointment the “Playing with Pictures” folio at The Met. All images absorb Arthur Tress Archive LLC.)

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