Dom Orejudos (1933-1991), also known as Domingo Francisco Juan Esteban Orejudos, Secundo, and by the pen names Etienne and Stephen, was an American artist and businessman best known for creating gay male leather-themed art. He was also well-known for founding International Mr. Leather with his romantic partner Chuck Renslow.
Orejudos began drawing commercially in 1953, when he was commissioned to draw homoerotic illustrations for Tomorrow’s Man, a magazine published by Irv Johnson, the owner of the gym where he worked out. He adopted the pen name Etienne, the French equivalent of his middle name Esteban. He also signed pen-and-ink drawings done in a slightly different style with Stephen, the English equivalent of his middle name, to imply that the studio employed multiple artists. The latter kind of drawings became the basis for storybooks, among the first explicit homoerotic comics published.
In 1958 Dom Orejudos and his romantic partner, Chuck Renslow, bought Gold Coast Show Lounge in Chicago and transformed it into America’s first gay leather bar, called the Gold Coast bar, with a uniform/western/leather dress code, a backroom, and homoerotic art (by Orejudos) on the walls. The forerunner of International Mr. Leather was the 1970s “Mr. Gold Coast” bar contest held at the Gold Coast bar. The “Mr. Gold Coast” contest became one of the bar’s most popular promotions causing the need to locate the competition to a larger venue (starting in 1979), and title change to International Mr. Leather.
In 1963 Dom and Chuck launched Mars, an overtly leather-focused magazine. They also produced non-explicit gay-themed 16mm movie shorts, written and directed by Orejudos.
After losing much of his archive in a plumbing flood in the 1970s, Orejudos gave the remainder of it to Target Studio, which became his primary publisher.
In 1978, Orejudos had a joint gallery exhibition in San Francisco with erotic artist Al Shapiro (A. Jay).
Orejudos died from AIDS complications in 1991 and is among those commemorated in the AIDS Quilt.
In 1993 Orejudos received the Forebear Award as part of the Pantheon of Leather Awards.
In 2013 Orejudos was inducted into the Leather Hall of Fame.
The Leather Archives & Museum has the largest collection of original works done by Orejudos under the pseudonym Etienne in the world. It also has the Etienne Auditorium, named after that pseudonym, which has numerous murals done by Orejudos.
Orejudos is among those commemorated in the AIDS Memorial Quilt.