Mino reimagines your favorite cartoon characters as queer
words/photography: Joshua M. Jenkins
model/art by: Mino Sanchez (@cocteautwinks)
Last May, an old (tattoo) artist buddy of mine from college posted a photo of one of his drawings on Instagram. It was a picture of Bert from Sesame Street wearing a sweater with Garfield on the front, captioned with, "WHO CARES". I had wanted more tattoos for awhile (I had two at the time, both of which I can best describe as "meh"), so seeing these two beloved characters from my childhood with whom I used to laugh and clap and sing along gave me an idea. I excitedly opened a message to the artist and said, "I love that drawing - can you switch it up just a bit and tattoo me? I want Bert and Ernie on a tv screen making out while Garfield watches from the couch, with the same text - WHO CARES - from your original drawing." I met up with him during his visit to Chicago, took off my pants, and gripped the edge of the table as my three childhood friends were permanently stamped onto my thigh.
As I think ahead about my next tattoos, I wouldn't mind covering myself in the cartoon characters who so greatly influenced my childhood...but adding a queer twist. I started contemplating the influence of these tv shows and characters and the immeasurably positive effects (acceptance, self love, etc.) queer cartoons would have on (queer) children.
I'm still a sucker for the cartoons of my past - Reboot, Garfield, Beavis and Butthead, Animaniacs, Sonic the Hedgehog, Beast Machines, etc etc. I have a Hello Kitty shrine in my bedroom, a binder with all my Pokemon cards, and two Beavis and Butthead plush dolls hanging on my bedroom wall. When I came across Mino's artwork, I was absolutely GAGGED by their vision and the nostalgia I feel seeing their creations. To quote their instagram headline, Mino (@cocteautwinks) says, "I draw gay things on microsoft paint". Born and raised in the Bay Area, I met up with them to learn more about their passion for art, sex/body positivity, and Making Cartoons Gay Again™.
- Your instagram handle really rolls off the tongue. What or who is "@cocteautwinks"?
My instagram handle is a play on my favorite band's name, the Cocteau Twins. They have been my favorite band for the last 10 years, I never get sick of them.
- When did you start drawing? Was MS Paint always your primary medium?
I've always liked drawing - since I was little. When I attended community college, I created a lot of art on the computer. Primarily, I started using MS Paint to make memes and just stupid shit to post on Tumblr because I didn't have Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. A friend of mine and I ran a Tumblr where we would post MS Paint drawings. Took a long break from drawing on the computer and last year started drawing again. I can't really put my finger on why I love using MS Paint, but I love it so much.
- One of my first male crushes was actually Jafar from Aladdin. Do you crush on any fictional, 2D characters?
Max from the Goofy Movie is kind of bae. He's too cool for school, he skates, he has a cool smile. I also have a crush on Patrick from Spongebob.
- Your drawings incorporate qualities typically ignored in "mainstream" queer narratives, including people of color, interracial couples, thick/hairy (brown) bodies, effeminate men taking the “top" role, etc. Why is our visibility important for you, society, etc.?
It's important to make art for everyone. I want to make gay art, and I want to make gay art for people of color. I'm tired of seeing this image of groomed, fit white men being the representation of gay culture. Being gay and queer, our family has so many shapes and colors. What I love about being gay is that we are all special, we are unique, [and] all sides should be represented.
- A few of your drawings portray a bottom looking earnestly at their suitor, only to learn the suitor is also a bottom (causing apparent distress). Is this in any way a reflection of your personal life?
I feel like I use my art to help me deal with my frustrations in life. A lot of the subject matter/themes in my art have to do with sex, often times extremely rough, and painful. I'm a perfectly normal average horny dude, and my art helps me project my frustrations of being alone. Sometimes it feels like everyone is having sex but me - making my art allows me to get it all out. I want my dating life to be like a 90s sitcom where I'm constantly meeting guys and going on dates. Sometimes you just have to laugh at life, like when I was seeing this guy and we both figured out we weren't gonna bottom for each other, or when I recently got a giant load of cum in my eye.*** My art and subject matter let me laugh at my life, because sometimes having sex with someone can be overwhelming to me in theory. It sounds nice and sexy but if you aren't feeling that person and you guys try to have sex, then to me it's just a painful, awkward thing. But when you find someone you want to have sex with, you want to do it all the time. That's how i romanticize meeting someone. They would make sex and all the little frustrations in my life go away. It would be perfect with them.
- How do you currently feel about your own body? What got you to this point?
As I've gotten older, and been naked in front of various men, I've learned that everyone's journey to accepting their bodies is different. I don't think I felt comfortable with my body til these last few years. Everyone is always worried about something on their body. I've always felt self conscious about my belly, or how scrawny my arms look, but I've also been with someone who told me my body was beautiful. I felt like my ex-bf hated his body, but I thought it was cute. The only way to build your confidence is to just get naked. Nothing is more liberating than being naked in front of someone. If someone doesn't like your body, fuck them. You don't need that shit in your life. I love seeing everyone naked. Everyone's body is different. No one penis is alike.
- Beavis and Butthead - top, bottom, or verse?
Beavis is a little power bottom - looks like he'd sit on you real quick and fuck you like a rabbit. Butthead looks like a lazy top. His dick is not that big, but really fat. Probably gets off and then falls asleep.
- I feel like that new Netflix cartoon “Big Mouth” is right up your alley. Have you seen it, and if so, what’s your favorite thing about it?
I've never seen it! I'm really bad at making myself sit down and watch something on Netflix or Amazon Prime. I still haven't seen Stranger Things. I'm a busy boy and when I do have down time, I'm trying to draw. I do listen to a shit ton of music though... I'll def get lost listening to music on Youtube or Spotify but can hardly keep up with new shows. But, I'll check it out. I watch a lot of Sex and The City though ahhah.
- Do you have a website? Can folks buy your art? I want a fucking t-shirt of everythiinggggg.
It's coming I promise. I'm going to make stickers, prints and shirts so I can get all my little hornies wearing my stuff. I love clothes so much... it's just appropriate that I would have shirts 'n swag for my friends.
***I was the one who came in his eye.
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