The Inspiration Behind AHS: Theo Graves, New York

American Horror Story: New York introduces Theo Graves, a photographer whose work has been controversially labeled, but is he based on a real person?

American Horror Story: New York City introduces Theo Graves (Isaac Powell), a photographer with psychic abilities, and art dealer Sam (Zachary Quinto). Bad relationship, but is Theo based on a real-life person? American Horror Story continues to tell a variety of horror stories in different contexts and focuses on social issues, and the 11th season, titled American Horror Story: New York, takes viewers to 1980s New York City to learn about the LGBTQ+ community, which and how it has been shaped by AIDS and serial killers.

Like every season, American Horror Story: New York tells different stories that eventually connect to one another, including Theo Graves' story. Adam (Charlie Carver) meets Theo while investigating who's boss, and despite Theo's troubled relationship with Sam, they eventually fall in love. Of course, since it solves real-life problems, some AHS: NYC characters were also inspired by real people, Theo Grave being one of them.

AHS: NYC’s Theo Graves Is Based On Robert Mapplethorpe

Theo Graves is not just a photographer: his work is all about finding beauty in decadence and decay in the mundane, which has resulted in some controversial photographs of men Genitals (such as those wrapped in chains), BDSM, etc. However, once other people started seeing the beauty in his work, the shock value ended and Theo lost interest and started photographing more trivial things like flowers and water droplets. Theo Graves and his work are reminiscent of real-life photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, who rose to fame in the late 1960s and early 70s.

Robert Mapplethorpe's work ranged from portraits of celebrities to still lifes to male and female nudes and self-portraits - but his most controversial (and ultimately best known) work is Those documented the gay BDSM subculture in New York City in the 1960s and 70s. In the late '70s, Mapplethorpe was introduced to Mineshaft, a members-only BDSM gay leather bar and sex club, where he photographed many of the locations, even becoming its official photographer at one point. Even years after his death, Mapplethorpe's work is still labeled controversial and obscene, but his art continues to be protected and promoted by the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, which also raises and funds donations Medical research on AIDS and HIV infection. Robert Mapplethorpe died in 1989 of complications from HIV/AIDS at the age of 42.

What Happened To Theo Graves In AHS: NYC?

Sadly, Robert Mapplethorpe's story also inspired Theo Graves' fate. In the final episode of American Horror Story: New York City, it's revealed that Big Daddy isn't real, instead, he's a figurehead of the HIV/AIDS virus, as the people he stalks and kills die of complications from the virus. Theo's death was even sadder, not only did he die from complications of HIV/AIDS, but he was drugged by Sam in Fire Island and tied up in the woods to be used by Henry (Dennis O'Hare), but Big Daddy put him Scared away, the spirit of his victim embraced Theo as he died. It is not known what happened to his work after Theo's death, but Adam continues to fight to heal him in the memory of him, Patrick, Gino and his friends.

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