Stavrinos was one of the stars of fashion illustration in the 1970s and '80s, along with Mel Odom, Antonio Lopez, and Michael Vollbracht. Although they were all great technicians, Stavrinos's work displayed a virtuoso ability to both model in delicate shading while at the same time tell a rich story.
Born in 1948, Stavrinos was only 42 when he died in 1990 of complications from pneumonia. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, he worked for Bergdorf Goodman, Gentleman's Quarterly, The New York Times, Barney's Clothes, and Pushpin Studios among many others. He also created memorable gay images for Blueboy and Christopher Street, two widely read gay magazines of the '70s. He created cover illustrations for Paul Monette, Edmund White, and Felice Picano, and his work is in the collection of the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art.
When we interviewed Mel Odom earlier this year he told us: "George Stavrinos and I were good friends and neighbors. I don’t remember where we met but we lived 10 blocks apart and he went out of his way to befriend me. George was a doll. A very sweet, complicated man with a huge heart and tons of talent. I did lithographs with Eleanor Ettinger in order to spend time with George. I liked the idea of lithographs but I loved the idea of George and I sitting there at a table drawing together. And it sort of happened like that for a while. I feel like Colette sometimes, speaking of the friends and artists who are gone, the last survivor of an era. But SO many of my illustrator friends died, so many that I don’t want to start a list."
Near the end of his life, Stavrinos was planning even more gay-themed work and male erotic drawings. Unfortunately, his plans with Jim French at Colt Studio were cut short because of his untimely death.
Sources: trendland.com, coilhouse.net, nytimes.com