Emails from Jan 19, 2005:
Lionel gave me your email address after he checked with you. I am a GWM
who has enjoyed the art of Sean for decades and am deeply saddened to
learn that he has died. That he and you shared a meal with Cavelo the
night before his stroke which led to his death seems almost surreal since
Sean and Cavelo are my 2 favorite erotic artists.
Cavelo also gave me the Seantheartist web site which I have just begun
to explore. It is great and I added it to my list of favorites so I can
go back again and again to see the latest postings. I have many of his
illustrated stories so eventually with the proper equipment I may eventually
be able to contribute. I never knew how to contact him, which I regret
since evidently he was a very interesting guy.
Thank you Jim for giving him 40 years of hopefully good loving and attention.
It is always reassuring to learn of long term relationships. In his art
he had a good attention to details and a wonderful sense of humor, and
also a wonderful sense of horror. No wonder he enjoyed Halloween.
As in any relationship it must not always have been easy but congratulations
for being together for so long. I wish you many happy memories.
I am now off for 3 weeks in Thailand/Laos but when I return I will really
get into the website (did he ever have one before this? I had never found
one). I also would like to chat more with you, if that would be all right.
Lionel has been amazingly friendly and helpful.
I'm sorry to hear of John's untimely death. The artwork of Sean has been
an entertainment and inspiration to me for many years. A longtime fan
of LT's work, both as writer and compiler, my fondest recollection of
Sean's work was his two wonderful illustrations to a partial short story
I submitted to Larry years ago under the pen-name "Scotty."
When Larry informed me he was publishing my story and Sean would illustrate,
I was thrilled to have my favorite artist depict my hottest fantasies.
Of course the body of his work speaks volumes for his talent and the
pleasure he gave our community. I share your loss.
Emails from Jan 12, 2005:
This is from Stuart Timmons, author and former director of the ONE National
Gay & Lesbian Archives...
Sean's work and impact is extraordinary, if not currently appreciated.
His editorial cartoons in the first years of The Advocate, which likely
paid nothing, gave him free rein to comment on anything and everything.
As Buckshot, he drew commentaries on gay soldiers in the Viet Nam War
(more than a two decades before Gays in the Military became a catch-phrase),
on the Nixon administration, and on Neil Armstrong's moon walk. Looking
back on these cartoons, they are a unique confirmation of how the gay
community was much more politically homogenous than it is today. In one
panel, he boldly satirized the opportunism of politicians suddenly discovering
the gay vote -- a comment that's just as relevant now as then, but which
would scarcely be seen today.
Always clever and gently sexy, the Advocate cartoons made fun of the
excesses of sexuality (such as promiscuity and leather) while acknowledging
its reality. Buckshot helped gay people laugh at themselves and, incidentally,
served as a humanizing bridge for the rest of the world to look at this
One of the best-known Buckshot cartoons was a gay reclamation of the
classic Iwo Jima image. He drew a group of men in tight pants and clingy,
open shirts raising a flag proclaiming "Gay Rights." It was
a perfect image, literally illustrating the concept that it took community
to make this gain; that one person alone could not achieve the task. On
closer look, the characters show racially diverse features, and two are
women (albeit wearing heels and skirts!)
This cartoon served as the basis for a float in one of the early LA Pride
parades. The figures were made of plywood, cut with a jigsaw, and painted
on both sides by Buckshot. One of the figures, a man crouching and holding
the base of the flag, was saved by Jim Kepner. It is often on display
at the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, which also houses many
of Buckshot's original cartoons. He's certain to be rediscovered.
-- Stuart Timmons
My condolences and deep regrets on the passing of John. I remember
his work as Shawn and Buckshot, especially for the early issues of
the Advocate, he was a true pioneer. I really enjoyed John's
humorous cartoons that I've seen over the years. I have placed an
article mentioning John's passing and a link to your web site on the
from page of my web site.
hugs and warm regards,
Emails from Jan 6th to Jan 11, 2005:
An email from Jeanne:
It is with infinite sadness and great personal regret that I am writing
to tell you of the death at 2:34 p.m. on Wednesday, January 5, of my close
friend of 35 years, John Klamik - better known to you most likely as Sean
Although you are probably most familiar with his erotica (murals for Leather
bars in San Francisco and Los Angeles, illustrations for such magazines
as Drummer - Bound & Gagged - Red Tails - and many others - and for
books and stories published by Larry Townsend and R.F.M.), it must also
be noted that, drawing as "Buckshot," he was the editorial cartoonist
for the original Advocate and, as "Shawn," a contributor of
numerous mainstream cartoons to mainstream gay publications. He was also
a longtime activist for gay rights, picketing, sitting in and serving
many terms on the Boards of Directors of both Christopher Street West
If you'd like to share any personal thoughts about his work and how it
may have impacted on you, I'll pass them on to his partner (they would
have been together 40 years in March); I'm sure that he would be both
comforted and gratified to know how many lives were touched by John.
These are two responses from someone in Canada...
Jeanne, I want to say thank you for writing me and for sharing your grief
with a total stranger. I, am very sorry to hear that you lost your best
friend. I, can imagine the grief impact it has on you. And I am very saddened
about the passing away of your best.
Jeanne, I wish that I could write you more, but the news of the passing
away of your best friend it has left me in a total shock. I, cannot write
you more because I have to put myself togheter.
It was something that you said in the letter about your best friend John
Klamik that was very touching to me, and it brought memories and tears
to my eyes. I, would like to continue to write, but I cannot. I, have
to leave it until a bit later on. The news hit me like a thunder.
Jeanne, I want you to share this letter with John's companion.
I, am sorry about last night that I could not finish for what I had wanted
to write about your best friend John Klamik. Because I was over taken
with grief. Even though I do not know the man the artist, or have anything
to do U.S.A. Jeanne, I would like to say something, and you know that
I am writing from Toronto, Canada.
I, want to say that even though I leave here in Toronto and a distance
far away, that I am thankful to John for all his hard work as a gay activist
and for his artistic work. John's voice I am sure it was hard right across
the border to Canada. I, have a sense of felling that he was a struggling
activist and artist, who fought in many ways for us so that we all have
a better life, including that his voice must have been hard here in Toronto
When I read your letter Jeanne, I found grief that we have lost a true
brother who gave so much for us. [ even though I was not there] I, can
only imagine the thoughts of hardships he must have went through for everything
to give to us, including his gifted talented work of art.
Jeanne, those were golden memories in the early 1970's and I am part of
those golden memories. Even though I was not a gay activist in Toronto
at that time, but never the less I had my own private battles with the
public to be accepted. I, was also intersted in doing work of Art myself
in those early days. That is why I was over taken with grief, it brought
I, want to say that John's work is not in vain, and that his struggles
for our rights will be remembered. His voice was booming to unlock the
doors, and he did. Look how far we have accomlished. In the days past
we did not have much.
I, want to close this letter, because tears are swelling in my eyes for
such an artistic talented man. And once again I am thankful that his struggle
was also a struggle for my rights to and for all of us.
John, I wish you peace, and I wish that I could have met you.
This comes from another buyer who likes John's work
- of course, I'll send on his longer message when it arrives...
will very much appreciate you forwarding my deep regrets our community
and world will experience
with our loss once I can sit down and draft a message. I am indeed sorry.
thanks for letting me know.
will talk with you on sunday or monday.
take care of yourself. and you also have my condolences as his friend.
This comes from a buyer in Sacramento...
I'm sorry to hear about Sean. I've enjoyed his art for a long time.
This comes from a friend...
I am familiar with Sean's work although I never met him. I always thought
his art was great. There was a mural on the wall on the ground floor of
Manspace that I would strare at for a long time on many occassions. To
you and his partner I express my condolences.
This comes from AJ...
I have no appropriate response to this news. You/one would think that
I'd be used to such news by now but I pray (in my own generic way) that
I never become that incapable of emotions/feelings.
So I took a moment, closed my eyes, visualized his smiling face, remembered
all the stressful-but-happy times we had to make a deadline on some gay
publication of yore, and I let go of him in the middle of a pleasant thought.
This comes from Ron Tate, whom I don't know but
who's a friend of HIC's Billy...
I HAVE DOWNLOADED MANY OF HIS ARTWORKS OVER THE YEARS AS WELL AS MANY
OTHER HOMOERTOIC ARTISTS. I WOULD HAVE LOVED TO HAVE MET HIM AND PERHAPS
From an eBay buyer...
I am so sorry to hear of John Klamik's death. I am sure you will miss
greatly. What a wonderful imagination and talent he had.
His drawings as Sean gave vision to my thoughts during the time I was
age in the early 1970's. It was so important and affirming to see that
someone else thought similar visions to mine. There was a sense of humanity
in his drawings. The men in his drawings were not unattainable muscle
they were ordinary guys doing extraordinary things and enjoying those
without any sense of shame or wrongness. You have no idea how important
was to a young Maine boy trying to come to terms with his sexuality and
interest in S&M.
He has remained my favorite Gay artist for all these years. I still remember
clearly some of the first drawings of his I saw 30 years ago. Quite a
John, I am sure, touched many other lives as he did mine. I am not at
surprised that he was an activist.
Well done, my brother, now journey on into the light perpetual.
Please express my condolences to his partner. It must be so hard to say
goodbye after 40 years.