By Beastly | @BadAlexCheves
Fort Troff recently teamed up with Andrew Turner, a young graphic design student and new-era submissive looking to combine his passions for graphic design and BDSM. To help him do so, we commissioned Mr. Turner to create original t-shirt designs for our shop at this year’s International Mister Leather in Chicago. Andrew talks with our blogger Beastly about kink, queerness, and life in the South.
Beastly: The shirts you designed for us were a hit at IML! Have you ever been?
Turner: Never! But I’ve always wanted to. IML has been a huge thing for me since my first year of college when I was first discovering my own niche in the art world and the gay community. I love all the art surrounding IML, like Tom of Finland. And I love Terry Miller.
B: I love Terry Miller too. I had the pleasure of being interviewed by his husband once for his podcast. So, what’s next for you?
T: I would love to keep working with Fort Troff and create more designs involving the power dynamic of sub and alpha. I’m passionate about 80’s and 70’s art, so I’ll continue with that aesthetic on my website and in my work. As a designer, I have more ideas outside sexual driven companies, but I would love to stay in this field and continue to create my own brand as a submissive. A smart and career-driven submissive. I also see myself working as a designer for layouts and brand development. I’d love to stay in the art field as a concept artist for galleries.
B: Where do you currently study?
T: I have two more semesters at Barton College in Wilson, North Carolina. For my fall semester, I will be traveling to Prague in the Czech Republic, so that should open up some new experiences.
B: What scenes in kink would you put yourself in?
T: I really enjoy muscle worship as a submissive or houseboy. I would love to combine my passions for graphic design and muscle worship. That would be a great endgame. My scenes include leather, houseboy, muscle worship, and maybe a sub-dom relationship. I’m also interested in toys and hypnosis.
B: I hear they get pretty kinky in Prague. That sounds like an incredible experience.
T: Yeah! I’m very open-minded. I hope I have the nerve to try new things out there.
B: You’re a young man in a scene that’s rapidly changing, thanks in large part to the internet, and that means a lot of new vocabulary that some people of a certain age don’t understand or appreciate. That said, what’s your opinion of the word “queer”?
T: Queer is a word that encompasses the whole community and is used for unity and belonging. I have many queer friends, some trans, gay cisgender people, and even people who are non-binary. Queer surrounds all of that. B: You’re going to school in the South. Where are you from originally?
T: Rocky Mount, North Carolina. It’s pretty boring. I moved to Snoqualmie, Washington, for about four years from third grade to seventh grade. That really helped me develop myself. I loved it up there. I am a city boy for sure, and I’d love to end up back on the West Coast. Coming from a place in the Bible Belt, in North Carolina, being gay has been a roller coaster.
B: I went to college in Georgia. I remember how strange it was to know that just outside the city was a rural countryside filled with people that hated me. How has the South changed your experience as an artist and young kinkster?
T: Being in the south, I definitely see gay stereotypical behavior, like “masc for masc,” and people who view femininity as gross and unpopular. It’s sad. As an artist, it’s been interesting to see what is popular. So many graphic designers will work for a church and simply put crosses in the letter “t.” Groundbreaking. I go against the stream and see myself as a stand-alone designer for my location.
The submissive part has been an interesting journey. Being a sub does not make me a weaker person, it’s just a power dynamic I crave within a relationship. I obviously enjoy being overtaken, and the raw power dynamic of sub and alpha. You can’t have one without the other. For me, a submissive holds the pleasure key for the alpha. In the South, especially in the kink community, I’m surprised how many alphas actually enjoy femininity, which contrasts with Southern culture. I can definitely say that it’s been harder for me to find interested guys who are as passionate about this kink and these roles as I am.
B: I think the South is changing. People in our community can’t afford New York and San Francisco anymore, so we’re flocking to Atlanta and Jacksonville and New Orleans, and changing the political climates of these places. Do you feel any responsibility to stay in the South to help it evolve?
T: That’s a great question. I have been thinking about how I could make an impact in my community as a gay man. You’re right. We in the queer community need to be in other parts of America for representation. I’ve always thought about living in Atlanta. Responsibility is a strong word, and I think it should be. That’s been in my headspace about where I would like to leave an impact. Maybe it should be here.
This interview has been edited for clarity. To see more of Andrew Turner’s work, visit his website.