Not only do we bring you hot photos and videos of bears, we want to bring you all kinds of things that you might find erotic in the Bear community. We are excited to share the work of one of our new favorite creators, the wonderful Rufus Art, who creates the awesome “Tales too Naked to Tell” that often has a bear or bigger framed guy in the images.
We love them all and I got to chat to Rufus recently. Find out more about him in this interview and see some of his amazing work!
David Goodman: Hi Rufus, tell us a bit about your background, who you are, where you’re from and how you started creating art?
Rufus Art: Rufus is my artist’s name; it’s how I sign my work. It’s a nickname that was given to me in college and stuck. I was more comfortable using it over my real name when I first started making homoerotic work, and I found it to be a more interesting online handle.
I was raised in a small town in Maine, went to college in Florida, and now live just outside Providence, Rhode Island. I’ve been drawing since before kindergarten, copying comic books and making my own versions of MAD Magazine. The credits in comic books made me realize that adults were the ones making this stuff, so the idea that making comics, animation, toys, things like that as a job was imprinted on me fairly early on.
DG: What is it about bears that makes you want to incorporate them into your art?
RA: I am a bear, would be the main reason! I started making my webcomic “Tales Too Naked To Tell”, which is an autobiographical diary/journal comic, which meant I would have to draw myself. And I had some friends that I knew would read the comic, or that I’d want to share it with, and I figured they’d call me out if I tried to “superhero-fy” my body, or make myself thinner or fitter or more muscular than reality. I don’t know if they actually would’ve said anything, but it was their voices in my head that pushed me to be honest about my body type in the comics.
So then it just became part of the challenge for the comic, how do I draw me so it’s aesthetically pleasing to myself and is an interesting illustration? I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how some of the self-drawings have turned out and now I’m able to have fun with it. And sometimes I definitely cheat in how I’m drawing my body and sometimes I’m not in the comic so that gives me a break from worrying about it.
For my other artistic work outside the webcomic, it’s about utilizing the wide range of body types that exist and mixing them together. Hairy/smooth, thick/thin, tall/short, the wide range of skin tones. I find mixing contrasts together much more interesting than keeping it all within a certain “tribe” of body type.
DG: What initially drew you into the bear community? And what keeps you there?
RA: Working on my own body-positivity is a big reason for me to attend anything “Bear”. I feel I have a good handle on being sex-positive and even nude-positive, but my own acceptance of how my body looks is something I’m always struggling with. I know with Bear events my body type will be expected and welcomed. So that nagging anxiety of “do I fit in here” can be turned down a few notches.
To be honest though, I’m attracted to men with body types completely different than my own. I have access to my own big hairy body 24/7, so I like something different! I like the little guys, though as someone on Grindr once said, “isn’t EVERYONE smaller than you?” Even hair color I like the opposite, I’m surprised how often dark hair will turn my head, compared to my very light and getting-lighter-every-day hair.
So I enjoy the camaraderie and acceptance of the Bear communities, but I’ve got an eye peeled for the chasers!
DG: Are you professionally trained or self-taught?
RA: I took art classes through high school and even made my own comic book during that time – I wasn’t out then though so it’s very not queer. I went to college and graduated from Ringling College of Art and Design, majoring in Computer Animation, but by the time I graduated I was into sculpting, particularly sculpting action figures. So I moved back home for a year and taught myself sculpting, then moved to Rhode Island because a major toy company is here.
Eventually I started doing a ton of work for that company but always as a temp or freelancer, which meant I had down time in between projects to pursue my own ideas. So I used the skills I developed sculpting and designing action figures and turned them towards my own original creations. And since I was finally comfortable with my sexuality, I could be open about naked men being a huge inspiration and I really wanted to bring more homoerotic and naked male art into the world. I did some fun character sculptures and offered them up in limited runs, molded and cast in resin by me. Then I got back into drawing and illustration and, after some time, finished and self published my “Naked Guys Adult Coloring Book” in 2020 – a great time to launch a book that gives you something to do while stuck at home! Illustrating the coloring book gave me the confidence to start the webcomic. And the webcomic partly came from my desire to keep a sketch journal but just never giving myself the time to do it. But after I went to Haulover nude beach in Miami and witnessed a few things there that I really wanted to secure as memories, I jotted them down as little notes then sketched them up. And they became some of the first “Tales Too Naked To Tell.”
DG: Who are some of your artistic inspirations?
RA: Two early ones for me that I discovered in the very late ’90s that opened my mind to the possibility of doing homoerotic art are Joe Phillips and Douglas Simonson. Joe had a comic strip in the very first issue of XY I bought and it definitely awoke a part of me that was like, I want to do that. I want to make comics about sexy and naked guys who aren’t ashamed about being sexually attracted to men. Another thing about Joe’s influence on me, most of the work I was seeing of his at the time never went full frontal, it was all very teasing. So when I started to do my own, I wanted to show EVERYTHING. It was time to take the mystery out of the penis! Unless it was more fun to tease or I had a good reason not to show it.
Douglas Simonson’s work goes from realistic to impressionism to more abstract, almost caricature-like comic book-style line art. I find all of it incredible and inspiring.
And of course with social media, despite the mess that it is, I’ve discovered and follow so many artists with their own unique take on the eroticism of the male form, from hobbyists to professionals. It’s an invaluable tool to be able to scroll through my curated feed when I need a little jump start of inspiration or to be reminded that I’m not alone in wanting to make art of sexy men.
DG: Where can we see and purchase your work?
RA: You can check out the webcomic free online at TalesTooNakedToTell.com. My online store is etsy.com/shop/FAGayStuff, where you’ll find my “Naked Guys” adult coloring book, enamel pins, and even some of the original ink drawings done for the book and some pages that I’ve colored. The coloring book is also available at a few retail locations – Mister Sister in Providence, Toys of Eros in Provincetown, and In Touch With You in Key West, if you’re in those areas.
You can support my work and see some behind the scenes sketches and more at patreon.com/rufusart. For socials I’m Rufusart on Bluesky, Instagram, Threads, Tumblr and even a free Onlyfans! Facebook is facebook.com/FAGaySculpts. All of which are linked at linktr.ee/rufusart.
DG: What big projects are you working on? What is coming next?
“Tales Too Naked To Tell” is my current ongoing focus, when I have enough of them I’d like to collect them into a physical book. I’ve got the first 2 pages of a 10 page fictional comic called “Jock Check” up on my Patreon, I’m working on completing that story. I want to get back to sculpting and have a few sculpts in progress that are waiting for me to finish them. And I’ve had a request from a store in Provincetown for “something Bear” focused for next summer, especially for Bear Week. So I’m brainstorming and toying with ideas for that. It might end up being a Bear-specific coloring book or it might be something else.