Jim French (born July 14, 1932) under the pseudonym Rip Colt created Colt Studio to publish books, magazines and calendars that presented French's work exclusively and set a new standard for idealized masculinity in photography.
French began drawing and photographing male erotica in the 1960s, and his first published book, Man, was in 1972. Other books include Another Man, Jim French Men, Quorum, Opus Deorum, Masc., The Art of Jim French and The Art of the Male Nude.
In 1957 French settled in New York and pursued a successful career in fashion illustration. He formed a partnership with Arion, whose glamorous drawings influenced his first works, and started a mail order company named Luger, as the name of the German pistol.French began to produce for Luger masculine subjects like bikers, cowboys, wrestlers and other familiar macho figures. When his art was featured on the cover and inside several issues of Mars, sales increased dramatically. Because of legal restraints of the time, the earliest works did not contain frontal nudity but were nonetheless highly erotic and humorously creative in their suggestiveness. He also began offering prints of photographs he had taken as references for his drawings, and these too sold well.
When French’s partner bought out his share of Luger, freeing French and a new partner, Lou Thomas, to establish another business called COLT Studio with a young stallion logo. Having worked for nearly a year to produce the first drawings and photographs to be offered by the new company, Colt was begun in late 1967. Once more the images were offered in sets of prints by mail and the company quickly became successful. In 1974 French made his home in the Hollywood Hills. From the COLT Studio offices in the San Fernando Valley he continued to run what was the most successful physique photography company since Bob Mizer’s Athletic Model Guild. For thirty-six years COLT Studio offered the singularly iconic, erotic and highly influential photographs for which French has become known worldwide.
French now offers limited edition art prints from his