"Grindr Illustrated" Turns Cruising Into High Art
By Nick Mattos, PQ Monthly
A new Tumblr showcases an anonymous artist's translation of Grindr profile pictures into surprisingly effective watercolor portraits. Grindr Illustrated takes gay men's favorite video game and renders profiles into lovely, expressive watercolor portraits: See more â€” and some musings upon the nature of Grinding â€” after the jump:
Grindr Illustrated prompted Una Mullaly of the Irish Times to present some thought-provoking musings upon the app, and why gay male culture presents a perfect storm for resources such as Grindr to succeed:
While the social impact of Grindr is huge, from facilitating meet-ups in territories less friendly to gay people and where cruising in public is a dangerous sport, to allowing men living in isolated areas to have some semblance of contact with other gay men without upping sticks to a more urban area, there are also negatives, obviously. A lot of anecdotal stuff has been written about how Grindr is impacting on gay bars by removing their necessity as a meeting spot for gay men and hosting customers who spend most of their time staring at the phones. Iâ€™m not sure how you can really quantify this impact, and Iâ€™m sure people were writing the same stuff when Gaydar launched in the 90s, and anyway, gay men have always been online leaders and influencers when it comes to developing ways in which to find each other more efficiently. Then, like anything online, there are safety concerns, although you can get attacked or assaulted anywhere, right? Itâ€™s not the app thatâ€™s at fault for that, but the perpetrator, otherwise you might as well be blaming Dublin Bus if someone head-butts you on the 46A, or condemning the existence of footpaths if you get a belt walking down Dame Street. But whatâ€™s more interesting to me is the more pervasive addictive aspects of the app, and whether it has actually changed behaviour, or whether it creates a sort of capsule sex life, sourcing sex through oneâ€™s phone and completing a (moneyless, obviously) sexual transaction in a neat, short space of time in a very functional and oddly futuristic manner. Iâ€™ve spoken to plenty of male gay friends who talk about cutting down on their use of the app and its addictive, compulsive nature. Obviously Iâ€™m not a gay man, so Iâ€™ll never really understand the biological and social nuances that guide male gay sexual behaviour, but itâ€™s obvious that the reason Grindr really works is that there is an equilibrium of power. A straight Grindr would never work because (A) straight people have a different mating dance to gay men, and (B) do you really think straight women en masse would risk the dangers of meeting up with anonymous men for sex after seeing a couple of photos and texting a few lines of chatter? Itâ€™s for similar reasons that a lesbian Grindr has never taken off. There have been a few attempts with Qrushr and Brenda (worst name ever), but lesbians donâ€™t have a historical culture of cruising in the same way gay men do, and diluting such interactions and exchanges into an app just wouldnâ€™t work. Plus, safety concerns will always be there with an app targeting women. I remember reading in DIVA magazine ages ago that at its initial peak, Qrushr was banning up to 200 accounts a day made by men masquerading as lesbians. So with Grindr, an app where most people behind their profile pictures are who they really say they are, those initial hesitations that stop a technologyâ€™s progress just arenâ€™t there.
What do you think of Mullaly's assessment of Grindr? Would you want your profile to get the watercolor treatment? Let us know in the comments!