“I was inspired to do an homage to the work of Tom of Finland, a master at showcasing hypermasculinity in his drawings, but with a gender-bender twist,” says Arroyo, referring to the masc-for-masc work of Finnish artist Touko Valio Laaksonen (a.k.a. Tom of Finland). The iconic artist, who framed the cultural gay male gaze of the late 20th Century, drew his imagery. But Arroyo took photos and worked backwards into these art prints.
“For the final touch, the images were edited in gritty black-and-white to emulate the feel/look of a drawing,” the photographer explains.
“I started taking pictures at age 15, when my father, a photographer specializing in landscapes, gave me his old camera and told me, ‘See what you can do with it,’” says Arroyo, who credits Annie Leibovitz, Herb Ritts, and Victor Skrebneski as some of his artistic inspirations.
Arroyo, who’s admittedly become “very comfortable” with studio photography and hopes to create a series shot at California’s Joshua Tree and the Mojave Desert, is now working on a project focusing entirely on men and their relationship with their penises.
“It will be a combination of photography and essays where the subjects will describe their relationship to their cocks,” he says of the project in development. “It will be a major departure to what my line of work has focused in the past, which basically has been capturing the beauty of the male form without necessarily focusing on the male organ.”