Michael Tolley

Drawing/Painting & Printmaking

I make dynamic paintings and drawings about gay monsters expressing their spirituality through deviant play. Like Seth Brundle’s science experiment gone wrong in The Fly, I make myself into Cronenbergian hybrids. These forms are fleshy, humanoid mutations crossed with my eclectic sensual appetites. What appeals to my senses range from the sheen of a frosted doughnut, the subtle value changes of a knee, to the double-penetration of a man’s anus. Having been raised in a strict Christian family, being gay and an atheist has left me exploring where the queer religious exile finds spiritual release through carnal pleasure in the societal fringes.



Michael Tolley is a painter and ceramist who combines elements of opulence and grotesque in order to create complex aesthetic experiences that explore the absurd and queer. Tolley grew up in Kansas and graduated from Wichita State University in 2015 with a Bachelors of Fine Art in painting. He received his Masters in Fine Art at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia in 2020. He currently works in Atlanta.


B.F.A. in Painting, Wichita State University, Kansas (2015)