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  • One Rainy Day In May

    Ressel lying naked on blanketIt was a rainy day in late May last year that I first join a site called Man Art. My friend Bryan Spellman, who is also a photographer here in Missoula, and whom I have known for decades and was one of original founders of the Out In Montana organization in the 80’s, encouraged me to join the site. Up to this point I had never shown any of my male art images to anyone, except the models I was working with of course. My partner Glenn had not seen many of the images. It was mostly a passion that I kept to myself and created mostly out of the love for the art and my connection to others. Finding subjects was near impossible, but occasionally someone would want to explore the possibilities and I would get to create. I have been doing photography for about 14 years now and I have been dabbling in this style since the beginning. I was beginning to amass quite a collection of images, that I wasn’t quite sure what to do with. I certainly couldn’t show them anywhere in Missoula. So I had been donating them to various charity auctions around the country for fund-raising auctions and they seem to be quite popular. I have never really had much of a web presence or been able to market them to people who might be interested. It may be hard to believe but I am a fairly private person. The urge kept welling up within me to do something with them, but I was really too busy to explore the possibilities, besides that I just didn’t know how to approach it. So Bryan finally talked me into joining this Man Art sitewhich was an international collective of men who created art for men along a sexual theme. I created a profile and posted my first images ever. The response was astonishing. I got some amazing feedback from all these other artists from around the world. I had suddenly found a place I could call home amongst like minded creative individuals. I began chatting up all kinds of different people and began to realize there was an entire world of artists like myself trying to express themselves and struggling with the same issues I was. One person in particular, John Douglas from Sydney Australia, took me under his wing and we began an intense dialogue about the process and creativity, and I began to see what I was doing was valid and had some sort of value. I have to say John is one of the most prolific artists I have ever encountered. He seems to be completely immersed in the world of gay art. He is a photographer, a painter, a sketch artist, a writer, and a composer just to name a few. He shattered my world. Suddenly I had a focus and what I was creating became better and seemed to have more meaning and context. My group of friends quickly grew and soon I was in communication with so many different people I could hardly keep up with them. Summer came and I got busy and had to let go for a while, but in the fall when things slowed down my creative process exploded. I looked for new subjects and called old ones. It felt like my passion was on fire to create a new style of male art. So here it is one year later. I have had an amazing year of growth and inspiration. I am now connected to a large number of people around the world. Man Art was closed several months back, and I look back at it with fond memory. There is talk of reviving it on a Canadian server where it cannot be censored, but they need finances or technical web tech service to make it happen. So if anyone wants or has the resources or talents to support such an endeavor, it would be well worth the commitment. Today I dedicate my creative heart and soul to John Douglas for seeing the extraordinary. I could not see in my own images, for being a constant mate from across the ocean who has helped me find meaning in my existence.

    VIEW FULL IMAGE: Russel #163

     

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