Leather Archives & Museum


Form Object

The Art of David Greiger

All-consuming Obsession Forged into remarkable Erotic Art

A Foreword to Fag Slave to the Muscle Gods by Joseph W. Bean

David Grieger-not nearly as well known as he should be, but best known under the name "David/Custom Inks"- showed up on my desk at Drummer magazine in the form of a gift. While other artists were constantly trying to avoid sending me original art because they placed outrageously high value on the papers where, all too often, they had desecrated the male form, David sent an original drawing on which he had written, "For your use or pleasure," beneath the signature. It was a hot drawing and, since he had thoughtfully also inscribed the drawing with his phone number, I called right away.

In that first conversation, one of the questions I asked David was, "How long does it take for you to do an illustration?" That set him on a quest to see how quickly he could create pictures he would be willing to have published. I was used to illustrators complaining because they had only eight weeks to work in, David decided that if he had to, he could make a publishable illustration in five minutes. I won't tell you which ones because I know you can't tell (and it doesn't matter), but two of the pictures in this volume are from David's "Five minute drawing" notebook.

Sadly, circumstances at Drummer were difficult, to say the very least, and I only got to use a couple of David's pictures. Fortunately, my successor at Drummer, Marcus-Jay Wonacott, was able to make more use of "David/Custom Inks."

Years passed. Then, through Peter Millar, my assistant at Brush Creek Media, and by way of the National Leather Association's Living in Leather conference, I met Mike Geinzer. Mike is one of the great and loving leathermen of our time, and David benefited from Mike's magnanimity: It was Mike who supplied David's paper and pens and encouragement, and often even the physical frame on which David hung his obsessive visions. Naturally enough, when David died-I can hardly even type those words-it was also Mike who saved and protected David's remarkable art.

Words About the Art, the Artist, the Obsession

David's life-better explained by Mike Geinzer in the following biographical note, turned on his passion for muscle. This obsession, read in the evidence of his art, rapidly took a more and more definite and possibly even rigid form as the elements of the bodybuilder image became fetishized.

The artist's fetishes eventually included the telephone, his only real-Iife contact with the gods of muscle; the gear and equipment of the workout space; the sleek, tightfitting posing trunks, the trophies, ribbons and even the competitor numbers from bodybuilding contests. But, above all else, of course, David Grieger's blood rushed at the very thought of the muscles, the mass, the bulk meat of a developed male body as a representation of power and dominance.

His joy is in the pleasures of his gods, in giving them pleasure, and it presumes that his abased condition proves them to be the gods he sees when he imagines them. Their glorious perfection, their unbounded superiority, their unlimited right to him and his lowly body are proofs without which they would be less than they are.

David's gods pose and flex as they threaten and use him. Their attention never strays from themselves and their unquestionable right to him, to brutalize and further debase him.
The cocksucker's willingness-David's willingness-in no way interferes with the right of his gods to force what they want out of him. He would never resist them, but he can imagine that they force him nonetheless, that they take above all.

The passion leads to visual reinterpretations and abbreviations that can sometimes make this art hard to see clearly at first glance. The effort we have to make to see through the scattered lines to the captured image is a pale reflection of the effort anyone would have to make to see through the shattered details of the artist's life and obsession and grasp even a hint of the ecstasy he pursued.

It has been a privilege to handle thousands of David Grieger's drawings, and it has been a genuinely awesome responsibility to be the one to select the 120 or so reproduced here.  Enjoy them. That's easy.

About the Artist

A very personal biographical note by his best friend

Written expressly for inclusion in Fag Slave to the Muscle Gods by Mike Geinzer

David Ray Grieger was born in Houston, Texas, on February 28, 1955. David had no formal training in art or design, but his artistic talents were recognized early by his parents and siblings.

David recognized his sexual proclivities at an early age and, since others did as well, he had a miserable high school life. He was out of his family home almost immediately after graduating high school, in search of his life in the Houston gay scene.

David admitted to being 6-foot- 7, but many who knew him thought he was taller. His height and his slim frame were always embarrassing to him, and he went through many phases of working out at the gym, tanning, drinking bulk-increasing cocktails, etc. in an effort to make himself more appealing to what he perceived as the perfect gay man. David grew his hair long to hide what he believed to be too-big ears, and he grew a beard to hide what he imagined was a weak chin.

In his quest for acceptance and friendship, David entered the world of drag where he performed as comedienne Lana Kane. He felt attractive in the persona of Lana, and his humor and style gave him great acceptance and continuing demands for repeat performances. And yet, David was also embarrassed by drag, seeing it as an affront to his masculinity.

David cut himself off from his friends and family and hid away in his Houston Heights area home. He went out only under cover of darkness as a midnight shift delivery man for Southwestern Bell or, when necessary, to take one of his four precious dogs to the vet. Work and dogs became David's whole life. When six months passed and he was still alive, David rationalized his continued existence as a sick joke on himself, and he became even more reclusive. The ultra-muscular men found in the magazines in convenience store racks were the central focus of David's fantasies. He subscribed to them all and knew each titleholder of any prominence by name, title, age, dimensions, etc. Most of David's art work was inspired by these real men as he tried to capture them on paper with ink.

It was through carefully worded classified ads in some of these publications that David began corresponding with many of the bodybuilders. He was always the adoring, worthless faggot at their god-like, "heterosexual" feet as they abused him both physically and verbally in letters and telephone calls. David kept detailed diaries of these calls and copies of all their letters and his replies.

David had dozens of dates with these men as they came through Houston on the competition circuit. Amazingly (or not?) not one of the bodybuilders ever kept the date he had made with David. This, of course, left him feeling still more worthless and ugly. I even helped David construct a pedestal worthy of his dream gods and strong enough for them to placed on top of it. The pedestal re- mains to this day in my garage, never used by the gutless wonders who jilted David over and over.

While hoping for a real encounter with one of his fantasy men, David picked up his pen and began drawing the fantasies, making the men bigger and meaner and more hyper-masculine than possible, as he drew himself into the same fantasies as weak and frail and insignificant.

David had to draw his own fantasies. He found the art published in muscle magazines and gay porno monthlies frustrating. The men weren't big enough or masculine enough, and they were far too pretty.

When David complained about the cost of art supplies, I started buying his pads and pens. He used ball points by the dozen. He filled his pads within weeks and rarely showed any of them to me or to his few other friends or to the family members he rarely allowed in his home. I spent months sitting on his couch, surrounded by art pads, diaries, notes, photos and scraps of paper with doodles and partial drawings on them. It seemed David was obsessed with the urgency of his task: He had to get all his men on paper.

Some he showed me with great pride. "This," he might say, "is Master George from Connecticut," or "This one is Daddy Bob in Illinois," or "This is Phil who just won the Mr. So-and-so contest." Others-maybe most of the drawings- were not good enough to show or were not considered finished. There were thousands of them!

David put his pen down for the last time around Thanksgiving of 1993. The pads I brought him were left untouched and his disease, eight years after the six month prognosis, started catching up with him. He became docile and childlike, and his sister and I heard the doctor say that it was a brain tumor. We both refused to allow a biopsy for the curiosity of the medical profession. He never returned to work after that Thanksgiving Day and I loved sitting with him for hours, pot of coffee after pot of coffee, as he tried to remember some little detail about his cherished muscle men and we laughed together, and I cried for hours after leaving him each time.

His sister, Veronica, was always at David's side during the last few months. She knew the subject of David's art work and allowed me to slowly remove from David's home all the pads, diaries and cassette tapes of phone conversations, along with all the videos and magazines. David did not appear to notice or miss them. I told him when he eventually asked that I was making sure his mother did not get them, should something happen to him, and he laughed as if it was a great joke.

We celebrated David's 39th birthday with him. He was laughing and responding whenever he was asked a direct question, but he was already gone. His creative mind, his incredible humor, his ink-stained hands, his coffee-and-cigarette breath were gone. We said goodbye to David a few weeks later when he passed away on March 18, 1994.

It is my intention that David should realize his dream of notoriety. The happiest moments of his life were when he was published in Drummer, Manifest Reader and Chiron Rising magazines. I have authorized this book of David's drawings-how I wish you could see them all!- and designated that all proceeds go to charity, so that you can just try to imagine what a complex and talented man David Grieger was.

He corresponded with the cream of the international muscle men's circuit and drew their images with love and adoration. He would have been a slave worthy of any of these men, and sadly, not one of them ever found out first-hand how worthy this worthless slave was.

Mike Geinzer Houston, Texas

Taken from Fag Slave to the Muscle Gods The Erotic Art of David/Custom Inks published by Brush Creek Media

For sale from the LA&M on Amazon.com

Sometimes, David's doodles and false-starts are as sexy and interesting as his niminally finished drawings. These few examples hardly begin to suggest the wealth of talent he lavished on squiggles and doodles.

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