The most common reaction to the cover of the August 18, 2009, edition of New Times, was, in a word, "Ewwww." The image, which you can see on the right, accompanied my feature article about people who identify as "zoophiles" -- having love and sexual desire for animals.
It made a big impression on Antonino La Vela, an Italian painter who happened to be visiting Miami Beach that week. He grabbed a copy of the paper and headed back across the ocean with a fresh supply of inspiration.
La Vela wrote to me in January to tell me of the effect the article and cover image had on him:
It was during a period where I was painting pictures regarding the human sexuality, where the globality of this picture should describe in a freely and open way what we are really about: sex and sexuality.
La Vela's painting (yes, it's safe for work) is after the jump.
In an email, La Vela told me that it was common for painters to contact and thank the source of their inspiration. He plans to submit the painting to curators for the NY Biennale Art, a biannual show that recognizes artists "working on the border line of the contemporary art."
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As a subject for art, zoophilia is definitely on the border line. I asked La Vela to send a photo of his piece, which you can see below.
And here is La Vela, posing in front of his work: