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Art by Michael Kirwan

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New June 2014
Michael Kirwan blueboy 410x600Michael 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 Michael Kirwan  Paint  WorkBronx 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”.

Love and Pride

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 Michael Kirwan  Paint  Workshipping 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.

Herold's Technique

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 Michael Kirwan  Paint  Workowners 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.

Adam Lambert 728x90 Not PECO


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