Sunday, May 27, 2012

Homage to Sadao Hasegawa

In honor of Asian History Month, I'm starting what I hope to make a JezzLoad tradition by
paying homage to Asian artists through my own work. There's no artist  more appropriate to start such a tradition than Sadao Hasegawa. Sadao's work was one of my first exposures to gay erotic art and his illustrations of Asian men remain an inspiration. His style involves several of my favorite elements; Muscle Men, Mythology, Geometry, and of course SEX. A Hasegawa piece is often arranged in this beautifully chaotic manner that pulls you down a rabbit hole of fantasy, color, and intricate detail.
I gotta admit - I seriously underestimated how intense depicting Sadao's style would be, but the process sparked several new ideas to introduce into my own style.

Here's a little bit of history about Sadao Hasegawa along with some of his work...


Sadao was born in northern Japan and is described to have been introspective but jovial and witty. Sadao grew up to follow his curiosities about nature and culture. These fascinations would become the influence on the art that he is famous for.


Sadao's work is renown for his beautiful portrayals of male beauty and sexuality. They were often draped or surrounded in iconography of religious beliefs and mythology learned from his travels throughout Asia and Africa.

Despite the amount of religious references many of his works involved, Sadao is believed to have been a universalist with no agenda to convey any kind of philosophy but only to present imagery of male sexuality.

Sadao's work first began appearing in Japanese gay magazines, Barazoku and Badi in the 1980's. Sadao's first book, Sadao Hasegawa, was first released in 1990 and was followed by a second in 1996 titled Paradise Visions.

Sadao's friend and American artist, John Goss stated that he met with Sadao a few days before his death. Sadao appeared to be his usual happy self and was showing him photos of his latest works. 
Sadao committed suicide in Bangkok, Thailand on November 20, 1999.
Sadao's brother reported that Sadao asphixiated himself using a rope tied to a door knob.
It is still unknown why Sadao committed suicide. He didn't leave a note, but his brother found a stone on which Sadao had painted a portrait of Yukio Mishima, a Japanese author who is famous for his work and taking his own life through ritual suicide. The anniversary of Yukio's suiced was approaching on November 25th.

Sadao Hasegawa left a mark on the world and a legacy of gorgeous, gay erotica. It has been an honor to imitate his style and to share some of his work with you. Below I have included some more of my favorite pieces of Sadao's work along with links to the sources of where I got the information about him.