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The Prime Minister of Dick Is the Best Penis Artist on Earth

Meet the Prime Minister of Dick, or PMD for short. He's a South African artist who "slings dicks and dicktures" for a living – i.e. absurd, surreal and sometimes brilliant illustrations of penises.

av Zach Sokol
2015 07 02, 5:00am

Photos by Bobby Viteri

"I'm the lead dickologist. There's nobody on Earth who draws penises like me." - the Prime Minister of Dick

The Prime Minister of Dick is trying to bench press some weights on my friend's roof, despite the fact that some kids recently busted up his legs while robbing him in Woodside, Queens. His casts are off but he still walks with a limp, and the 35-year-old can still do more reps than me. "It's the shizzle," he says in reference to the joint he insisted we smoke before talking on record. "It's giving me super strength—mind and body. Now you want to talk about dicktures, or what?"

And make no bones about it: Dicktures—i.e., pictures of dicks—are what the Prime Minister of Dick traffics in. Born Michael Zwane, The Prime Minister of Dick (or PMD, for short) is a South African artist who specializes in rendering male genitalia in the most fascinating ways possible. Anthropomorphic dicks, monstrous dicks, colorful dicks, and creatures with dicks on their face and balls on their chin. They're framed using cheap material and sold for roughly 30 bucks a pop—though a "small dick can go for less if you know what I'm saying..."—and haggling is fair game. Sometimes PMD says he "slings dicks," other times he says "I draw dicktures," or that he works as a "dicktator." Consistently, he will re-assert the fact that he's the only living "dickologist" in New York.

If you live in New York City, you may very well have already encountered him—PMD is pretty hard to miss. He's the guy with cornrows who sometimes dresses like a caricature of a pimp (fake gold chains, dark shades, a brown overcoat, often adorned with a fedora or flat-brim hat) and is probably camped out in foot-traffic heavy areas like Times Square, Union Square, or on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn. In a thick South African accent he shouts at anyone who passes, "Dicks on dicks on dicks! Dicks for sale!"

PMD primarily works in Williamsburg now, as there are younger, "edgier" people and fewer hustlers grappling for attention from passers-by. It may be safe to assume that tourists are more likely to approach the surprisingly family-friendly Naked Cowboy in Times Square than a foreign guy with a thick accent shouting about a painting called "Booty Scratcher Pothead Shooting Heroin in His Balls." (Williamsburg is also more residential than Times Square, and the artist realized people are more likely to buy a framed illustration if they don't have to carry it very far.)

On a good day, he can make a few hundred bucks selling dicktures, and has sold every copy of some limited-run art books and written texts he's made. The artist has even been included in a couple gallery group shows in Chelsea, including (according to him) Launch Pad Gallery and Harris Leiberman Gallery, but has never pursued serious representation or a more stable source of income than selling his work on the street.

PMD isn't your average New York City weirdo, and his dick illustrations don't look like your average bathroom tag of a stick-figure pecker. The artist makes surreal, impressionistic, and sometimes brilliant drawings that are as idiosyncratic as the man himself.

"A White Man with a Black Dick for a Nose" by the Prime Minister of Dick

My favorite PMD drawing is the relatively simple "A White Man with a Black Dick for a Nose" (above). It's a pen-and-marker illustration of a grinning fiend with bloodshot eyes and, well, a dick-nose. The character's sideburns clumsily blend into a mustache and his wrinkled forehead juts off his face, as does his flaccid dick-nose. The colors are ugly and a nauseating neon-yellow border frames the image. At the same time, the character looks developed with intense bravado and zero sense of self-consciousness. "That's one of my early dicktures—I love my early work," the artist told me. When asked how he would describe the image to a buyer, PMD replied, "I'd say 'White Man with a Black Dick for a Nose' for $20, and that's a dickscount!" It hangs above my desk, and every time I look at it, I'm reminded of the special mixture of horror-fascination I felt after watching Ren and Stimpy for the first time.

I first heard of the Prime Minister of Dick when a friend showed me a copy of his art book 9/11: The Synopsis, which compiles many of the works he still sells on the street today. Having nothing to do with terrorism or politics, the limited-run collection of illustrations includes hundreds of images of warped human faces, demon-ish characters, and lo-res collages that feature appropriated images from tabloids and hip-hop culture. And, naturally, The Prime Minister of Dick inserts a phallus into most of his images in some shape or form—frequently as the nose or appendages of his characters. PMD sold the collection at his streetside 'dickstop,' but it's now out of print.

Above, images from 9/11: The Synopsis

While the art in 9/11: The Synopsis was what originally piqued my interest, what got me hooked on the dicktures was PMD himself. The man is a hustler in the truest form. He spends all day hanging out in the midst of hyper-stimulating tourist hubs, and is undeniably the most salient person in the herd. Watching him interact with customers is electric.

On multiple occasions, I've heard him tell customers, "I don't mean to boast, but people have told me I might be the greatest artist who ever lived," before trying to sell them a drawing called "Penis Titty Balls Head." Or he'll question an ambivalent onlooker, "Don't you want dicklicious decorative [pronounced dick-hor-a-tiv] dick art in your home?"

PMD is the rare type of New Yorker who earnestly and unfailing believes the city can make the American Dream a reality. He thinks that New York City is the only place where you can do what you want without compromising—where you can tell everyone to fuck off and "sling these dicks instead of getting a boring job."

The man loves New York and New Yorkers—and is even married to an American woman named Alicia—so why is his first art book called 9/11: The Synopsis? PMD explains: "I named it that so when I was slinging dicks on the street, people would think, 'He's crazy!' and come talk to me. Or they'd be offended and come talk to me. This is not about politics or people dying. This is about me smoking marijuana from 9 AM to 11 AM. 9/11. I made it my goal to smoke shizzle in the morning for two hours because when I'm really, really high I can start drawing dicks and balls. The title is all about getting people to remember the dickology brand—the man who incorporated dicks."

During one of our several conversations, PMD explained that before he started drawing dicks, before he made a business card that states he has a PhD in Dickology, he wrote several books, sans-illustrations, including The Prophet Michael's Dreambook, Sausage Head, and The Passion of Shizzle Mo'Nizzle. The first two texts were inspired by a vision he claims he had after moving to America. PMD told me he emigrated from Soweto, South Africa in 1999 and moved to Wildwood, New Jersey. After settling, he quickly became unhappy. He was working for people he didn't like and regularly jumped job-to-job—admittedly drinking and smoking too much during the time. He decided to fast with members of his Christian church, hoping to find a solution to some of his problems. After not eating for several days, he had a hallucinatory experience. PMD told me he saw himself come out of his own body and float up toward the sky before getting caught "in the dark area up there, just before heaven." When he was up there, he met up with "God, or something godly" and was placed in one of the lines in the figure's fingerprints.

"He started talking to me, and then showed me the planet. He showed me images of people getting drunk, fighting, doing stupid things," PMD said while lying on the weight lifting bench on my friend's roof. "I realized later on that those people, their energy, all represent this thing I call Sausage Head. Sausage Head is a parable for all the bad things in humans—you know how a sausage is made out of a lot of different kind of meat? The fat, the tail, this and that. Sausages are mixed up in the head. I, too, was mixed up in the head. I had to take all these things the Godly figure showed me and do something with them."

PMD wrote a tome, of sorts, called The Prophet Michael's Dreambook to explain his vision, and then wrote Sausage Head to expand on the parable by turning "Sausage Head things" (e.g. human depravity and selfishness) into a character, also named Sausage Head. Soon after, he began visualizing this character through illustrations. At first they featured lewd scribbles of naked women, alongside a beastly man with sausages protruding from his body. "We all have demons in us, and creating these Sausage Heads is a way of exorcising them." No one bought those drawings, though.

Above, the cover of 'Sausage Head' the book, and a later drawing of a Sausage Head character

Then one day a guy saw a version of the Sausage Head character and asked if it was covered with dicks. PMD said no. The potential customer told him that was too bad because he would have bought the illustration if they were dicks. PMD paused, then the two of them started cracking up. "I thought, ain't that something?" he remembers. "So after that, I started drawing some dicks, and they started selling. I decided I was going to employ myself off of dicks from then on."

When I asked him about his fascination with cocks and balls during a different interview, he had a less business-oriented explanation. "People always ask me, why dicks, why dicks, and I say, 'Why not dicks?'" the artist told me as he was hawking his wares on the street. "There's a saying you must never forget: Remember where you came from. And at the end of the day, we all came from a penis."

Despite his local cult fame, PMD casually shrugs off the idea of fitting in with the white-cube gallery world. "I can't say nothing ill-willed against the artists of today and all that... but nah. My mind is working like crazy; I can create something way crazier than anything you'd see in a normal gallery. My life and my dicktures are all me. I believe that the best things that ever came out involved somebody saying, 'I'm starting a new movement; I'm starting something new.' And that's what I'm doing, know what I'm sayin'?"

Stranger things have happened in the arts and culture world than a guy like the Prime Minister of Dick making the jump to the NYC gallery game. For example, composer Philip Glass drove a taxi and worked as a plumber for years before he became famous, while artist Raymond Pettibon made gig posters and album art for punk bands prior to exhibiting in any galleries. Jack White used to run an upholstery business (and used to hide his music inside furniture he was working on), and the singer Jewel was discovered at a time she was living out of her van and didn't even have a demo CD.

Still, PMD may never become anything bigger than a strange outsider artist who loves making dirty, exquisite drawings. But what's certain is the guy would rather keep living the life he's living and fade into obscurity than be rich and not peddling peens. Ultimately, there are countless famous artist, but only one Prime Minister of Dick. At the end of our conversation on my friend's roof, I asked if there ever could be another dickspert. "I don't think there could be another dickologist, but maybe there should be," he replied. "Fuck it, there could be a bunch more and it doesn't matter. I'll always be the elite dickologist."

Follow Zach on Twitter. See more of Bobby's work on his Tumblr.