Earlier this year, a new “Circle” feature appeared on Grindr which facilitates random chat groups and users can discuss everything from their favourite memes to RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars, and what video games people have been playing during lockdown. The app has also opened up a space for art creators and connoisseurs with the premise that users can share their art and photography and be critiqued by others.
I B-line for the “Circle” feature and join “Share Your Art”, ready to have my mind blown with a new discovery. Immediately someone asks, “Any hung alphas want a masc sub to use as a human flashlight?” Which could, in fairness, be an art performance piece. A few minutes later someone replies with a dick pic. I head to Google Images and type “art work”, screengrabbing a painting of a rainbow elephant. “Hey would love your thoughts on this painting I’ve done”, I say, sending the image. Someone replies with an encouraging, “Amazing”. I ask if they can share something with me. “I never did any art”, the user replies. Nothing else is said and I leave.
I switch to “Queer Photography” and am bombarded with a deluge of dicks, butts, and the occasional clothed selfie. Technically these images could be considered queer photography but I’m not sure Grindr’s users are embracing the channel’s full potential.
Despite my largely lacklustre – although supportive – trip through Grindr’s art community, other peoples’ experiences seem to have been a little more fruitful. One anonymous user told The Art Newspaper: “I love the idea of art-sharing among my fellow gays. I’ve had some genuinely lovely conversations with people about it. We’ve shared ideas, appreciated each other’s work, given notes where necessary.”
Grindr has yet to make any official announcement about the “Circles” feature or outline its hopes for the new avenue.