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Getting Into The Pink With Queer Illustrator Andy Simmonds

Andy Simmonds

Quitting school might be the best thing Andy Simmonds ever did for himself. While studying design at Brigham Young University, an institution with a policy of expelling students for same-sex dating, this Salt Lake City-based Mormon trusted his edgy, bubblegum instincts and dropped out. Unsuppressed, he was able to explore his art and sexuality, all while launching his personal brand, Hey Rooney, a cheeky line of pastel illustrations that critique and celebrate queer sex trends — think a PG-13 Tom of Finland, spun through a cotton candy machine.

Hey Rooney

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Now 25, and in business for a year, Simmonds has seen his Instagram following (36,000 and counting at press time) help propel his success, which involves growing sales of Hey Rooney T-shirts and prints. “I hope to continue making things that challenge labels, but also challenge core ideas in the community,” Simmonds says. That means a little less visual skewering of popular Grindr lingo (Simmonds’s ironically pink “Masc 4 Masc” tee has been a best seller) and a little more commentary on sexual fluidity and sociopolitical change. “Masc, fem, top, bottom — it’s becoming less of a big deal,” Simmonds says. “It’s 2016. We’re all everything. To be relevant and current, my work must evolve. The world’s moving on. I need to move on too.” 

Instagram: @heyrooney;

Hey Rooney drawings

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Tags: Art & Books

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