Published August 1, 2022
Where To Buy Gay Art Online (Original Artwork)
The best resources to buy gay art
Art has always been a core pillar of the queer community. We often hear from our audience that they are interested in supporting LGBT+ artists but don’t know where to buy gay art. We put together this guide to help understand the history of gay-friendly art and how to find it.
Artists who seek to create gay-friendly art can use any medium to explore the queer experience. These artists do not have to identify as LGBT+ themselves, but they demonstrate support for gay rights.
Brief History of Gay-Friendly Art
The history of gay-friendly art extends back thousands of years. The most famous example of ancient art depicting a gay experience is the Warren Cup. The Warren Cup is a Greco-Roman silver drinking vessel with a relief depicting two men engaged in a same-sex act. The vessel is dated to the 1st century and is currently exhibited at the British Museum.
With the rise of Christianity, there was widespread intolerance toward the LGBT+ community. Therefore, outright depictions of gay-friendly art were limited. Instead, artists often showed homosocial scenes within their art rather than outright homosexual. Some of the Renaissance art masters such as Carvaggio and Albrecht Durer deployed this type of imagery within their art.
The gay experience remained at the fringes of society largely until the late 19th century with the trial of Oscar Wilde in 1895. Following evidence unearthed during a libel trial, Wilde was convicted of gross indecency and sentenced to two years hard labor. While attitudes remained intolerant, this celebrity trial introduced the broader public to the gay community.
During the 20th century, gay-friendly art gained prominence. Jasper Johns was one of the most celebrated gay artists for his depictions of American flags and was in a long-term relationship with the artist Robert Rauschenberg. Francis Bacon is an important figure in gay art in the 20th century. Born in Ireland in 1909, Bacon gained some early notoriety for his deliberate depictions of gay sex in works like Two Figures from 1953. This carnal, controversial work represented a movement towards more openness and acceptance of gay themes in mainstream art. During this time, it was hard for interested patrons to know where to buy gay art, most opportunities to buy had to be done discreetly to protect both the seller and the buyer.
The AIDS crisis, which disproportionately killed gay men during the 1980s, saw rise to activism through art. The pop artist Keith Haring was a major supporter of the organization, Act Up. Through his paintings and public art, he brought awareness to HIV and AIDS.
Over the past 50 years, there has been increasing tolerance toward the LGBT+ community. These artists throughout history paved the way for visibility of the gay community through their art.
Gay-Friendly Art Inspired the Founding of Testudo
Testudo’s founders, Kirby and John are also gay. They recognize that their queer experience inspired Testudo. Their entrance into appreciating art emerged from discovering art of other queer artists throughout history - where artists like Cecil Beaton, Ren Hang, and David Wojnarowicz. The queer experience is a key theme of their art and felt relatable to John and Kirby. This feeling guided their decision to buy gay art and to build Testudo. At Testudo, we want to help others see great art, hear the stories of contemporary artists, and give collectors the opportunity to support these artists directly by establishing a space where collectors can come to buy gay art.
Being gay teaches you the importance of finding community. Many members of the LGBT community experience the need to create support systems that empower them as they navigate the world. As a team, we at Testudo talk constantly about how important building community is to our company. We want to be a connector where important conversations happen between our audience of artists and art-enthusiasts.
Buy Gay Art on Testudo
When you ask where to buy gay art, the best answer is Testudo! We pride ourselves on the diversity of our artists, both in their identities and the work they are creating. While other sites may feature their gay-friendly art during June’s pride celebrations, at Testudo we promote the opportunity to buy gay art all year long.
Selection of Gay-Friendly Art Available to Buy on Testudo
Currently, we have art on Testudo by the artist Paul Anagnostopoulos, who explores gay and queer themes. Paul works primarily in acrylic and oil paintings and his art often takes inspiration from classical forms that showcase idealized bodies. These hyper-masculine images of men are then manipulated to appear sensitive and emotive. Paul also incorporates campiness and melodrama to his art, using titles that highlight the high drama in 80s pop music. Paul’s gay-friendly art is available to buy on Testudo. It’s part of our ongoing mission to feature more gay artists on our site in the coming months and years.
“I use this male image because it's sort of this Western epitome of beauty, like a hero from Greek mythology is always like the smartest. He's the strongest, he's the bravest. And so sort of playing with this heightened masculine image and then sort of breaking it down and showing it in more intimate moments, showing it in more human moments and sort of taking the divine and the godly and turning it back into human.
I also pull a lot of the masculine images from wrestling competitions, gay erotica, from like the sixties and seventies to reference the beginning of sort of the gay rights movement and how this sort of time reflects a lot of the tragedies from the ancient times and just like the beginning of this fight for our identity and acknowledging this perspective that's largely been erased.
A lot of ancient sculptures, not many people know this, but they were all painted in super garish colors. They were not like pristine marble things. They were gilded. They were like really bright polychrome colors. I like the super kitschy, ridiculous paint.”
Acrylic & Oil on Canvas | 2020 | 48" x 60"
"A combination of my varying painting strategies and full of surreal juxtapositions: inside and outside, colossal and human, growth and decline. This sets the stage for a conflicting couple asking the age old question, should I stay or should I go?"
Acrylic & Oil on Canvas | 2018 | 24" x 18"
"The figure’s inner turmoil is visualized as a lava field with surreal pyramid structures- a nod to 90s video games. The hot internal gradient contradicts the cool natural environment the figure inhabits."
Acrylic & Oil on Canvas | 2020 | 22" x 16"
"Visually I wanted to emphasize my investigation of depth versus flatness in a more obvious way, with the painting being divided into line and form. Conceptually it serves as a memorial to an earlier, lost queer generation."
When you are searching for where to buy gay art, we really believe that Testudo is the answer. While we offer a wide array of work from emerging artists, our selection of gay-friendly art can’t be beat. Take a look around.