I caught up with artist Marc DeBauch to look at his series of work titled Beach Boys.
When did you discover and start to explore your passion for art?
I started drawing and painting when I was three years old. Before I was five, I remember creating a crayon drawing of the Sinking of the Titanic on the rough plaster of the living-room wall of my parents’ house. It was impossible to remove — my parents weren’t happy with me, but after that they provided me with enough art materials to pursue my creative interests without destroying their home.
When did you start specialising in painting naked men and creating erotic art?
It was 36 years ago when I started painting male nudes and selling them in a local gay book store. Then, in 1995, I entered two paintings in the Tom of Finland Foundation’s Emerging Erotic Artists Contest. I was won first place, which opened the door for my art career, as I was immediately approached by galleries and magazines that wanted to feature my art.
This gave me the confidence and notoriety to exhibit and sell my work at erotic art fairs and gay events. At that time, the internet was just emerging, so my friend Andrew created a website for me, which was a fantastic tool to get my art out to people around the world.
You’ve written that Tom of Finland is one of the major influences on your work — when did you first encounter the work of Tom of Finland?
I remember seeing Tom of Finland’s art in a porno magazine my friend had in high school. I was just amazed at the sexual tension, outrageous anatomy, and attention to detail in Tom’s art.
This was back in the early 1970s, so gay porn was just emerging legally in magazines and films. At the time, I wasn’t talented enough to draw the human figure accurately. But, I was fascinated enough to want to try. My sister’s boyfriend was a photographer, and he gave me his dark room equipment — back then you actually had to develop film, as there were no digital cameras.
I talked a friend into posing naked for me while jacking off, and I developed the film and made some prints. I was 14 years old, photographing another 14-year-old boy. It was very exciting creating my own porn! Unfortunately, my dad — being supportive of my art — wanted to see the photos, and of course I couldn’t show him. Not only did he not approve of gays, he didn’t want his son to be gay. He would have probably hit me if he knew I was a homosexual creating gay porn! So, I destroyed the photos almost in front of him, while saying — “The photos didn’t turn out and I would show him better work at another time.”
I was scared and freaked out. I knew I was self-censoring. But I also realised that if I was going to create erotic art that I would have to do it in secret. When Tom of Finland began drawing naked men, he also had to make his art in secret. I think most erotic artists learn to be very careful about choosing the right audience to exhibit their work to.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
My inspiration comes from people I know. I’ve been fortunate to see and meet many beautiful men in my life. Capturing their beauty and illustrating them in a unique way, is my goal.
What’s your creative process?
My creative process is different every time I paint. Sometimes an idea for a painting just pops in my head and I try to find model to pose for a photo to match my vision — that’s often the easiest route.
I rarely work from a live model. My paintings take so long to create — I often work all night on a painting — so, finding a model to sit for that long of a period and whenever I want them, is impossible. I use the photos of my models as reference.
Often, I look through hundreds of images and piece things together in a collage. It’s more like a jigsaw puzzle — lots of pieces missing, and my mind fills in those missing pieces with an arm from this model, the chest from another, the dick from another, the face from another, and so on, until I have the entire figure. But then I have to decide how the light and setting will pull all of those puzzle pieces together.
I have dozens of photos that are my references for every detail of plants, animals, rocks, furnishings. I sort through a constant mess of photos — gradually eliminating those references as my brain digests the information and my brush puts it on the canvas or paper.
The paintings that form the Beach Boys series are beautiful — what are some of the challenges in creating beach scenes like this?
Trying to find a balance between the setting and the model is always a challenge. I don’t want the model to overpower the beach, or the beach to feel more important than the model. I want my paintings to have a natural feeling, like you could be at the beach with my models.
Who are the men featured in the paintings of the Beach Boys series?
The men in my Beach Boy series are mostly friends that have modelled for me. Sometimes I find a photograph of a model that someone else has taken, that inspires me to use it as a reference pose to work from, then I find one of the photos of a beach that I’ve visited and I try to recreate a similar pose in a drawing that will eventually become a painting.
What do you hope that people feel when they look at your work?
I don’t want to just give the viewer of my art an erection, I want them to feel like they’re part of the painting, that they want to invite the men in my paintings into their homes, their beds, their dungeon, their car, their locker room, or the bushes for a hot fuck, butt licking, cock sucking, ass spanking good time.
I hope to excite the viewer visually, emotionally as well as spiritually. It’s my goal as an artist and sexually active gay man to paint erotica that continually challenges the views of people who oppose sexual freedom. If my paintings assist the viewer in discovering where they are in the spectrum of human sexuality, then my aim is reaching its target.
We want to hear your opinion
Bringing Sexy to Art
Breaking out of Christianity to Discover his True Talent.
I love art, and everywhere I look, there is loads of talent. One day I came across Nik and his amazing drawings of hot sexy men. I was blown away by the level of detail and talent Nik puts into each drawing he does. I reached out to Nik for an interview and was honored that he accepted.
Nik, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m an early thirties guy from a small town in New Mexico. I grew up in a really conservative Christian family and because of this, I was pretty sheltered from things that our church found transgressive like homosexuality. I find it a little ironic that despite this upbringing, I’ve grown up to become a gay, atheist, artist that draws dicks and hairy bums as a hobby. I went to college to study biology and have worked in laboratories in both academia and industry. I now live in the Midwest with my handsome fiancé where I am finishing up the last year of my doctorate in Genetics.
When did you start drawing and when did you start drawing men?
I’ve been drawing and making art for as long as I can remember. My grandmother is an artist and I spent a lot of my childhood watching her paint and sculpt. She often involved me in her process and would have me knead her clay for the storyteller dolls she made. I’ve always been really close with her and I think that art is a major part of our connection. I was a very quiet and reserved kid, so I spent a lot of my time drawing and reading. My childhood sketches were mostly of dinosaurs and animals — a lot more innocent than what I work on now. The story behind how I started drawing men is a bit unusual. To make a very long story short, in 2012 I had a near-death experience and I am only alive today because a friend of mine was there to save my life. I couldn’t think of a gift grand enough to thank him so instead, I drew a hairy bubble butt on the front of a card and wrote on the inside “thanks for saving my ass”. That hairy booty was the first of what has now become many.
Is it easy to find men to draw? Where do you usually find your subjects?
I primarily use Instagram to find the men that I draw and using that platform, it has been really easy to find muses. I’ve met some wonderful guys on there that have gone on to become the inspiration for my work. People are surprisingly very open to baring it all for a sketch. I live in the middle of nowhere, so I often have to work from reference photos. It’s been really fun to work together with the guys to come up with poses for my sketches. There are also a ton of incredibly talented photographers I’ve met that are kind enough to allow me to work from their photos. I really enjoy the process of taking their images and reinterpreting them in my style. Lately, I’ve been trying to work on doing more art trades with other artists where we each will work on a portrait of the other. It’s been a lot of fun to have the tables turned and get to become the art.
What motivates you?
My motivation to draw men comes from a love of the male form and an appreciation of how beautiful I find body hair. Drawing has also become a major source of stress relief for me, so I’m often motivated to draw to give myself an emotional release. I find the process of drawing body hair to be incredibly relaxing and being creative allows me to use another part of my brain that I don’t get to use in my day job. I’m also motivated by other artists. I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of the queer art community on Instagram and every day I learn something new from these talented artists. Aside from a few classes I took in high school and college, I’m mostly self-taught so these other artists have become my teachers. They motivate me to try new things, take risks, and keep improving.
What is next on the horizon for Nik?
I hope to turn this hobby into a side business. This year I’m hoping to begin selling prints of my pieces and hopefully have my first art show. I also have some ideas for some pins based on some of my sketches which I’m hoping I can make and begin selling. I also want to start working with more color and incorporating other mediums into my work.
Nik is has been a pleasure.
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