Words by Marvin Maddix
D’ken Tell us a bit about you, and where your love of Bears began?
It began with self-love. I didn’t start out liking bears. I started going to bear bars to build my confidence because the guys I was really attracted to then were on the other side of town, but my taste in men changed. As my confidence grew, I began to learn how to really love and appreciate myself as a sexual being. t’s easier for me to recognise what I love and appreciate about myself in other bears. Apart of why I make art is an extension of that self-love. I see it within me. I rarely see it around me….so I make it be seen.
What is your starting point when creating a new series?
I keep an imaginary collaborator in my head. His name is Psst Psst – Double P for short. A piece of work usually starts with him whispering in my ear, “psst -psst.. I thought of a new way to draw hair,” or “psst psst.. he’s cute. Swipe right.” and sometimes I listen. Sometimes I don’t.
Who inspires you?
I’m really inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert’s animist view of making art. I learned how to name Psst Psst from reading her book Big Magic. She treats ideas, feelings, stories, as disembodied beings who she shepherds into form and being by making art.By relating and communicating with these pseudo-real beings, she learns how to adopt a very healthy attitude to making art – to making magic.
There seems to be a trending love of Bears, why do you think that is?
I think that has a lot to do with representation. You see a lot of gay men nowadays so there’s more room in people’s imaginations for different kinds of gay men. Also, it’s easier to come across as masculine when you’re bigger and hairier.
Also, I think some people were tired of being “Metrosexual”
What do you want people to feel and who do want them to react when they see your illustrations?
I would really like to make stuff that sticks in people’s dreams. Sometimes when the world around you doesn’t reflect the world you live in, having a dream is a healthy way to have a relationship with where you are. That dream can sometimes heal and comfort you, for some people, I would like them to use it help them dream.
Your illustrations remind us of Japanese Hentaii, what do you think about this?
So, labels are like subway trains. And if my drawings threw a party, you could get there on the Hentaii train but you’d have to take a bus too. If I could give you a better word, it would be Bara. Hentaii is more of an umbrella term for adult explicit content. Bara is gay media typically made by gay men for gay men. The men depicted are typically more masculine and they come in different body sizes.
What I mostly knew as gay Japanese media is Yaoi – which is largely made by and for women. And that typically featured pretty boys that conform to the roles of top and bottom. Bara is more fluid in terms of body size and sexual roles.
I recently learnt that Bara is a derogatory term in Japan so I would be careful in using that, but I have found that to be very effective for the search bar in Tumblr. For an even better train, I’d suggest GachiMuchi or GMPD, but that’s for me to know and for you call Tumblr.
We know you use a lot of nude men in your art, are these live illustrations or taken from stills?
They’re taken from photographs. Hunting for them is part of my process. Do you know how hard it is to find photos of attractive Asian gay bears that isn’t explicit porn?
Do you think the heavy sexual derivative takes away from the art?
Ideally, I would like a good balance of concept and sexuality in my work. If too much blood goes to your dick, you’re going to be light headed and if you think about it too much, you’re never going to get it up.
Are you more of a Jock, Otter, Bear or Wolf lover?
I have grown to like dudes that are into Pup play. The leather mask and the dog roleplay do nothing for me. But what I’ve found is that those dudes tend to LOVE physical affection – cuddling, petting, wrestling, scratching – probably because it’s built into the roleplay.
Is sex better when you’re bigger?
It’s better when you’re comfortable with your body, you either have to get bigger, get smaller, or settle in with what you’ve got.
Favourite song to have sex to?
No songs. I love hearing all the sex sounds in full definition. The only thing hotter than the sound of sex is the sound of sex you’re trying to hide from your neighbours.
Tell us about your comic book of poetry?
The book is called “Blessed Beast: A Spiritual Autobiography of Cruising.” The name is a pun on the saying, “Blessed Be.”
I started writing poetry to help document the things I felt when I was cruising – exercising my identity as a gay man. After I had read them to myself, I came to think of them as blessings. Blessings for me. Blessings for men. Blessings for the animal that is my body.
At first I wanted the book to be illustrated, which is how we got to where I am today, as I’m attempting to marry the images and poems together, I’m using comics to make me more eloquent in what I must say.
What’s next for you?
More dreams. More dudes. More drawings. Oh I’m coming out with a Tshirt with Goddess Clothing this June!
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