Dom Orejudos aka "Etienne"


Domingo Orejudos, Dom, is known for artwork depicting the male body in all of its leather straining heroic proportions—creating fantasies of domination and submission that most leather men try to remember and remember and definitely can’t forget. Dom’s personal and business partnership with Chuck Renslow (Leather Hall of Fame, 2009) influenced leather history through establishment of Kris Studios, the Gold Coast Bar, Man’s Country, and International Mr. Leather. Dom was also an acclaimed ballet dancer and choreographer, Emmy Award Winner, and writer and illustrator of s/m story books that have cum stains all over them... He was up for it all, he lived the leather life, and through his art—under the names of Etienne and Stephen—he took it to another level. Born in Chicago on July 1st, 1933, of Italian and Philippine ancestry...Dom was stricken with pneumonia while traveling in a 1987 delegation to China and Tibet. After a long battle with AIDS, he died at his home in Boulder, Colorado, in 1991 at the age of 58. Survived by his brother Gill Orejudos, and partners Chuck Renslow and Bob Yuhnke. His vision lives on...

Etienne—the Artist

With characteristic modesty, when asked to describe the significance of his work, Dom responded “I just draw erotic fantasies.” And what hot fantasies they are! Here’s how Dom described the nature and growth of his work: “The very first set I drew that was offered commercially was not leather/levi; it was uniforms. Navy actually. However, leather/levi scenes came very shortly after that, not surprisingly since I was into leather then and indeed have remained so to this day. As for the models in my drawings being 'well-endowed,' I try to keep the measurements within the realm of possibility. I mean, the entire figure is, to an extent, exaggerated, glorified. The deltoids are a little rounder, the pecs a bit squarer; so the cock is proportionally 'enhanced.' But never, I hope, enlarged to the point of being unbelievable or grotesque. The cock shouldn't be the focus point by virtue of its size. In any case, viewers, I think, expect a certain, shall we say, 'heroic heft' to the genitals in drawings of the type I do. The prick on Michaelangelo's David for instance, might be more true to life, but it would look wrong and too small on one of my drawings; I don't think the audiences would accept it.” For Etienne, the most important aspect of his work wasn’t cock; it was “facial expression.” “So much can be implied with the face, emotions that intensify whatever action is occurring in the drawing.”

When asked in a 1983 interview what he hoped people in the future would remember about him, his work, and the historic times he lived in, Dom responded, “Well, I don't think that by looking at my drawings that they would be able to tell much about my personality, whether I was good or bad or kind or sarcastic or anything like that. However, an observer could probably pick up on a lot of surface things like, 'Wow, he's into white socks,' or 'Hey, this guy digs blondes,' or, 'Hmmm, looks like Etienne was into leather.' As far as what I hope they'll feel about me and about my work, I think it would be nice if they would find it exuberant, that there is life in it, that it would sound echoes of a nice spirit.”

“I’d say honesty is pretty important,” he answered when asked what was the most important quality for an artist like himself. “And, I think you have to be unafraid to reveal things about yourself to the viewer, because drawings really tell a lot about the artist. . . . So the artist must be secure and sure of himself and not timid about revealing aspects of himself to his viewers.”

In 1991, as he was dying, Dom’s last words to Chuck Renslow were “Well, I’ll only be here a little while longer.” Yet, for tens of thousands of men the sexual power of his pictorial fantasies continue to excite and capture the imagination. Domingo, Dom, Etienne, Stephen Orejudos: his life and what he created with his life triumph in those exuberant moments he continues to inspire. To paraphrase what he said to Chuck Renslow as they made the decision to open the Gold Coast, he didn’t just draw it, he lived it—and through his artwork, we’re invited to live it as well...

--Jack Lock

Above text and images courtesy of Leather Archives & Museum, Chicago

This tribute page was created by Visual AIDS