David Edward Byrd was born on August 4, 1941 in Cleveland, Tennessee. His parents split up promptly afterwards, so David grew up spending his school years with his mother and wealthy stepfather in Miami, with summers in his father’s Cleveland farmhouse. In Miami, his mother and stepfather hosted wild parties, and David was expected to either bartend or stay out of the way. Consequently, David threw himself into his academics and extracurriculars, such as drama. He excelled, but struggled with health problems due to stress.
David always knew he was gay, and had his first sexual experience with another boy at age 10. As he went on to study art at Carnegie Mellon, he continued to have sexual and romantic experiences with men. Upon graduation, he was hired to help create the set for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. He later moved on to teaching art, then relocated to New York to help his friend with a light show business. There, he began illustrating posters, and was commissioned to create iconic posters for rock musicians such as Jefferson Airplane, Jimmy Hendrix, Traffic, Blue Cheer, Iron Butterfly, David Bowie, and Frank Zappa.
Jolino Beserra was born on January 28, 1957 in Los Angeles, California. His family was of Mexican descent, but Jolino’s father was very assimilationist and prohibited him from learning or speaking Spanish or connecting with his heritage. Jolino’s father was also physically abusive, making it difficult for Jolino to communicate openly with most of his family. Still, Jolino’s Aunt Terry and his 4th grade teacher Miss Tooey saw that he was interested in art, and they both encouraged him from a young age to pursue it. Jolino eventually attended art school in Pasadena.
From a young age, Jolino could see that he was not developing the same interest in girls as his male peers were. Quietly determined to hide his difference, he played football and dated cheerleaders throughout high school. In art school, Jolino was even engaged to a woman, planning to marry her so that people would not be able to see his difference. Everything changed when, in 1981, Jolino met David.
Jolino was secretly visiting a gay bar in Melrose and getting ready to leave when he saw David, and could not help but approach him. The two hit it off immediately — David had been in LA for a poster commission but decided to leave his life in New York behind for good. Jolino realized that he would need to begin living for who he was instead of trying to create a self to please others. Three months later, the two of them moved in together officially and have remained inseparable ever since.
Jolino and David met at the start of the AIDS crisis, and they saw many around them growing fearful and losing family. They joined the buddy program to provide companionship for people who were ill, and they participated in walks and marches despite getting hit and spit on for doing so.They were both touched to see the AIDS quilt come together in DC. They also grew close to people in the Mattachine Society and the Radical Faeries.
Both being artists, the couple has also supported one another in their careers. Over the years, they’ve worked in freelance illustrating, photography, and advertising. When Jolino stepped away from advertising, he discovered mosaic work, through which he has been reconnecting with his Mexican heritage. He has since then been commissioned to do work for public libraries and parks. David continues to design and sell posters successfully, and in 2023 publishes his book Poster Child. Jolino and David push one another to create their best pieces, but also both stress the importance of prioritizing their relationship throughout, and how crucial constant communication and care are in maintaining a happy, successful queer relationship. As they reflect, they smile — they describe themselves as “survivors” and feel “blissful” for having been with each other throughout.