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      Colby Keller Is the Marina Abramovic of Gay Porn

      July 5, 2014

      Photo by Gabe Ayala

      Like many gay porn stars, Colby Keller has a knack for versatility—and I’m not talking about how he’s worked as both a pitcher and a catcher. In between working for the top companies in gay porn—including Randy Blue, CockyBoys, and (controversially) Treasure Island Media—Keller has put his anthropology degree to good use, writing about art, barebacking, and capitalism on his blog, Big Shoe Diaries.

      For years now, I’ve wondered about what goes on in the dirty mind behind Keller’s goofball grin. When someone told me Keller was giving away all of his possessions—except for a plaque of Lenin—as part of an art project, my curiosity was seriously piqued. With all of his possessions discarded, Keller's now embarking on “Colby Does America… and Canada Too!”—a lengthy road trip to make art, meet people, and get laid. In each state Keller will film himself fucking a guy in the back of a van in the name of art. Wanting to know more about the Marina Abramovic of gay porn, I caught up with Keller at a Pret A Manger in New York to discuss his art projects, capitalism, and why porn is better than his “horrible, evil job” at Neiman Marcus.

      VICE: Why did you decide to create your van project? 
      Colby Keller: I don't have a house, I don't have a home, I don't have a destination, and I don't—for at least the immediate time period—want to think of one. The van is a way of thinking about home on the road, and also thinking about our future, because we're all probably going to have to set out in vans and move around, and there will be a lot of displaced people, and a lot of people will die. I want to embrace this future we're making for ourselves and that capitalism and this horrible landlord are forcing me into. There’s a porn trope where they're going to fuck the whole country, so I’m gonna fuck America! America has certainly fucked me, and I'm going to fuck back—but in a nice, positive way. 

      What made you become a porn star?
      I was taking courses at the University of Houston in their studio art program, and I really didn't like it. So I dropped out of the program and graduated with a degree in anthropology, but there aren't a lot of lucrative jobs out there in the field, and we were in another recession. I was also curious about porn. My favorite site was Sean Cody, and just on a lark, I was going to send in some nude pictures, totally expecting to be rejected—actually, I kind of wanted to be rejected. I wanted them to tell me I wasn’t worthy! And then they came back and said, “Oh no. We're actually interested.” I was like, “Oh man. God, they're into it! Do I have to do this? I guess I have to.”

      I eventually got other jobs while I was in Texas. I worked for Neiman Marcus, a horrible, horrible, evil job. They didn't want to consider me a full-time worker, even though I worked there for two years, 70 hours a week, just cause they didn't want to give me health insurance and they wanted to pay me $10 less than anyone else on staff.

      You often discuss capitalism. Capitalism clearly affects our work lives, but how does it affect our porn consumption and sex lives?
      I have some guilt when it comes to that, because porn specifically presents a problem. Does porn inform people's sexuality, or does porn simply try to access those things in your sexuality to sell itself to you? Obviously, the product always does this thing where you're never completely fulfilled, so you buy more of it. As a porn performer I feel somewhat responsible for that, because sometimes the images that porn produces aren't healthy ones. It's very formulaic: We're going to give each other mutual blowjobs, maybe the top will eat the bottom's ass, then there are three fucking positions, then they both come. Who in [his] right mind has sex like that? 

      You’re a porn performer and also an artist. Do you identify as a performance artist or as a visual artist?
      I try to think of it as everything. I don’t want to put a limit in terms of what mediums I can use, but to me the main medium is Colby Keller. Art projects for me need laws—creating a law gives you the power to break the law, which is the best part of having one—but I don't want rules to limit the kinds of tools I can appropriate as an artist.

      With performers like James Deen pursuing porn and other careers, porn has become more mainstream, like it was in the 70s. Why do you think this is happening? 
      Part of that is about the structural and financial problems that the business itself is encountering, and about social media. The late 80s and early 90s were the golden era of gay porn, and models got paid really well. Companies controlled the images of their models under an exclusive contract. They would do all the work of marketing you and making you a star, kind of like the old Hollywood system. Now there's much more pressure for the models themselves to do promotional work—to be on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook. In some ways it’s good to have ownership of that image, but also it's a lot of work you're not getting paid for.

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      Topics: Colby Keller, porn, gay porn, porn stars, LGBT, Gay, gay news, performance art, Marina Abramović, Treasure Island Media, CockyBoys, Randy Blue, muscle gays, masc for masc, anthropology, Nieman Marcus, Colby Does America… and Canada Too!, Pret A Manger, tops, bottoms, vers, top or bottom?, sex, barebacking, anal, rim job

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