Artist Louis Fratino Paints The Most Beautiful Rimjobs

 
 
 “I started this secondary Instagram account that’s just slutty drawings thinking I could be off-brand there, but then my grandma started following it and liking every post. On one of them she was like, ‘Yummy!’ You find out that people are game for anything.” Above: “Dolphin Street,” oil and crayon on canvas, 2017.

“I started this secondary Instagram account that’s just slutty drawings thinking I could be off-brand there, but then my grandma started following it and liking every post. On one of them she was like, ‘Yummy!’ You find out that people are game for anything.” Above: “Dolphin Street,” oil and crayon on canvas, 2017.

 

The painter Louis Fratino talks lines and lineage. Text Sean Santiago, images courtesy Thierry Goldberg gallery. This article originally appeared in Cakeboy AW17.

 
 

Louis Fratino’s work catches my eye because, as I will tell him later, I think we are both very into rimming. Not that his paintings are all about eating ass. (Though some, like “A Colorful Landscape,” a post-Trump paean to the glory of a puckered anus framed as a pastoral idyll and dedicated in an Instagram caption to “American Horror Story’s best supporting actress, Mike Pence,” are overtly so.)

Fratino’s work is about a beginning as much as an end: of the world as we know it, of life in the closet, of a practice untethered from history as much as it owes everything to it. The 23-year-old painter’s second solo show in the states, So, I’ve Got You, closed this fall at the Lower East Side’s Thierry Goldberg gallery; the New York Times declared the works, “hot and not just because they focus primarily on muscly young men who are scantily clad, if at all.”

Fratino’s work indeed elegantly straddles the past and our mutable present, reframing a painterly lineage of covert glances and obscured desires as the norm, not taking queer aesthetics for granted so much as acknowledging their mundanity in the context of his own life. What is an ass for if not eating, after all? Fratino, for his part, thrills to the idea that his work can reach an older gay male clientele and still resonate with his mother. “The paintings are a mix of both cultures, both lives that I lead,” he says. “We’re at a weird point in the culture because of all this work that has been done for us to feel ‘normal’, but does that water us down? I feel like the older I get, the freakier I get, and that’s good.”—

The paintings are a mix of both cultures, both lives that I lead.
 
 “Self with Pitcher and Candle,” oil on canvas, 2017.

“Self with Pitcher and Candle,” oil on canvas, 2017.

 
 
 
 
ArtSean SantiagoArt