Tristan Eaton is the featured artist for the return of Detroit’s Dirty Show

Jan 25, 2022 at 10:21 am
click to enlarge Tristan Eaton. - Courtesy photo
Courtesy photo
Tristan Eaton.

After a hiatus, the Dirty Show, Detroit's annual erotic art extravaganza, is back — and Metro Times can confirm that this year's featured artist will be Tristan Eaton.

The L.A.-born artist who once called metro Detroit home is known for his murals (you can see one in downtown's Belt Alley) and for co-founding Kidrobot, where he designed the Dunny and Munny vinyl art toys. He has since been tapped by big clients, including designing the Soul Train Music Awards for BET in 2009 as well as the tickets and program for the Super Bowl in 2020, among others.

Eaton and Dirty Show founder Jerry Vile go way back: Vile gave Eaton his first art job doing illustrations for his Detroit-based humor magazine Orbit when Eaton was just a kid.

Eaton sent the following statement to Metro Times:

In the mid '90s Detroit had a wild and beautiful art sub-culture and Jerry Peterson (AKA Jerry Vile, Mick Torpedo, et al.) was the punk rock PT Barnum in the middle of it all.

When Jerry was the publisher of legendary Detroit magazine Orbit, he gave me my first ever art job illustrating articles such as ‘How to be a Better Stalker’ and ‘The Orbit Guide to Suicide’. This led to creating art for St. Andrew's Hall and endless posters for bands, raves, and radio stations that set my whole art career in motion. Without Jerry, I would never have met Detroit legends like Glenn Barr, Mark Dancey, and Niagara. I have a lot to thank the guy for, but these days I’m just thankful the old man is still alive.

Jerry’s circus continues with the The Dirty Show, a stunning display of counterculture, sex, and art bringing people together like only he can. It’s a grand spectacle of visual debauchery and I love it so much. Thanks for having me back, old pal!

Vile says Eaton was tapped to be the featured artist for the Dirty Show's 2021 show, but the event was canceled due to the pandemic.

"Tristan is so fucking big," Vile tells Metro Times. "He's the first artist that's made it out of Detroit, really big, in a long time."

Vile says Eaton's work as the Dirty Show's featured artist will include original paintings, prints, and sculptures. As usual, the show will also feature more than 200 pieces of art from dozens of artists, as well as burlesque and drag performances.

The Dirty Show is scheduled for two weekends: Friday, Feb. 11 and Saturday, Feb. 12, and Friday, Feb. 18 and Saturday, Feb. 19. Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test is required.

"We want this to be a super 'spreader' event. We don't want it to be that kind of a super-spreader event," Vile says. "There's your funny quote."

The show will once again be held at the Russell Industrial Center; 1600 Clay St., Detroit. Tickets start at $42. More information is available at

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