Thursday, February 7, 2013

JezzLoad Quickie: How does being black influence your art - or does it?


This year, as part of my blog celebration of Black History Month, I surveyed a variety of black creatives with an assortment of questions. I will be sharing what they had to say through out the month.

This week's question:

How does being black influence your art - or does it?

It's obvious that it influences my work, but not as heavily as you might think. 
When I made the commitment to become an erotic artist, I had a goal to showcase underdogs. I say underdogs because as a general category, I used the groups that tend to get dismissed more often on the online dating/hook up sites. You know - the groups covered in the "No Blacks, No Asians, No Fats, No Fems, and no one older than..." clause.

Here's how some other creatives answered today's question:

How does being black influence your art - or does it?
"Being black influences everything I do in art. I make a genuine effort to make sure that black people are always featured in my work. My primary goal has always been to put as many black men with other black men together in my work. I don't see enough of it. It's what I've always wanted to see. It's what I've waited to see. When I realize it wasn't happening fast enough, that's when I decided I had to do it myself. I even started drawing black men together in different scenarios, genres, and time periods. And, not just in a thug/urban setting -- which our porn seems to dictate. I love seeing us in the Roaring Twenties, Ancient Greece, Gallifrey or in Narnia. We can be cowboys, fairies, and vampires too. People also seem to forget that it wasn't that long ago when images of black people were rarely seen. Especially in a positive light. I can't tell other artist what they need to draw or what I need to see, because luckily, as an artist, I can create that myself."
- Victor Hodge (Black Gay Boy Fantasy)
"I think being gay affected my art more than being black."
- Joe Phillips (Stonewall & Riot)
" I feel it is my duty to celebrate the beauty of black men in my art; not exclusively, of course, but often."
- Choklit Daddy (Choklit Daddy's Sketchbook)
"Being Black, and diversity in general, is a recurring theme in my art. I didn't originally draw many black people at all like most African-American artist. I didn't do it for a different reason though - I think black folks are gorgeous and I wasn't sure I could capture that.Now I embrace that a bit more as well as trying to portray other minorities when and if I can. I wish more black artist embraced drawing diverse characters. Sadly, a majority do not."
- Jubell (U.R. Elevated)
"It does. It has to. It may be subconsciously, but I think my being black makes me want to create more diverse characters and also interracial relationships within my characters. I find that whenever I do group shots of people in my art, I have the need to make every character a different skin tone."
- Will O. Tyler (Carabosse Comics)
"In every way. I am very cognizant of the representation of color --- ethnicity being reflected in my work. Specifically, in genres outside of the "boxes" a lot of entertainment seems to keep our images/presentations locked in. I'm a MAJOR Sci-Fi and Fantasy buff - so my work with MYTH is a direct answer to see myself and other ethnicities better reflected in those genres."
- Sean-Z (Rated Z Studios)
"Knowing what it feels like to be misrepresented or not represented at all, diversity is a reoccurring theme in my mind. Drawing from ones own experience brings your unique perspective but I think its good to step out of that box every now and again and let someone else's inspire you."
-Lucky Sanford (LuckySanford.Com)
"It does in that I actually include them! LOL!I know this isn't true of all artist, but I find that if they actually draw black characters, the likelihood that they're black is a bit higher."
- JC Etheredge (Anti-Heroes)

What about You - 
Are you an artist, writer, or photographer? Does being black influence your work?
If you're not black, does your subject's being black influence you?
Feel free to answer in the comment section.

Next week I'll be sharing what these creatives had to say about stereotypes.
Till then, enjoy the rest of your week.


  1. Awesome post :) I think being a black artist influences my art in the way that I like to see people who look like me be represented in art. It also made me realize that a lot of minorities are brushed to the side, and I like to include a lot of different races and cultures into my art. I think the diversity is a beautiful thing.

    1. Thanks, Gene.
      I'd love to see your work. Can you send me a link?

    2. sure!

      I have more stuff on my ygal too

    3. Thanks, Gene. I am familiar with your work but was unaware of your blog.
      I'm lookin forward to your answers to next week's question.

    4. cool! Can't wait :) I've been following your blog for a while, and I love the interviews you have with various artists. I thought it was time I stopped lurking and said something lol

  2. Thanks for you information about the guy in that photo! It is very difficult to get photos of Australian gay porn stars! I agree with Gene that diversity is a good thing. I have started to add more dark and black men to my posts as you may have noticed. Hugs, Patrick

    1. No problem, Bud. But he's not a porn star - just a camera ham. He's a buddy of mine.
      You've done a great job at posting a diverse amount of hotties ever since I've followed your blog. It is appreciated ;)

  3. Jubell is black? I had no idea! Nice Black David, he's ready for the disco! :D

    1. Hahaha! Jubell is black.
      It's funny - I've had that same response to so many artist. Before meeting Joe Phillips, I assumed he was white. And before my interview with Silencio, I assumed he was white because he's French.
      It's funnier that I as a black man naturally assumes someone is white with no basis to do so. Strange huh?

      Thanks for the compliments on my Black David. I like your disco idea, when I have some free time, I might play with some disco lighting.

  4. Excellent post, Jezza.

    I try to get diversity into my work, partly because I'm personally attracted to different races, and partly because I just think it's right.
    I do get hung up on how I'm portraying different races though, which can be a real pain in the arse, and probably counter-productive. For example, I'm working on a creator-owned book (I won't say the title, this isn't about me plugging my book!) suffice to say it's an erotic crime/detective story.
    Now, of the two main characters, one is Korean, one is Caucasian. The first two characters in the book are a couple of low-rent crooks. One black, one Asian. I made that decision on a purely sexual level; fantasy crooks are HOT, as are Black and Asian men. So for me, it's pure, awesome hotness. But as soon as I'd done it, I was worrying about how fans from those communities would feel about that portrayal. Will they share my fantasies, or be offended? If it's the latter, I would be absolutely devastated.
    Maybe I'm overthinking it, but I'd genuinely love to know how people of certain races or, indeed, any minority group feel about how they're represented, especially in comics.

    1. Thanks, Jacob!
      I can understand why you'd feel that way. I personally feel that it's hard to be offended when the character is hot and your characters are always hot - but I'm shallow that way hehehe.
      In the original version of the first issue of my comic, the only black character is a bandit. I had not even thought about it till afterwards when I realized he was the only black character. I then started having thoughts similar to yours.
      I think in your case, anyone familiar with your work will know you represent the full spectrum and in a variety of ways. If you only drew stereotypes, then you'd run the risk of offending someone and then I'd go back to my initial statement - it really is hard to be offended when the character is hot. :)

      At least that's how I feel about it.
      Anyone else is welcome to chime in on this with their opinions.

      It is so interesting you would comment on this post, Jacob. I make mention of you in a post reserved for later in the month. I think you'll be pleased.

    2. Ooh, I'll look forward to that, Jezza!

      It do find this whole business of representation in art fascinating. Hopefully we can all discuss it over a beer at Bent Con this year!

    3. You bet, Jacob!

      Last year's show introduced its first panel, "Race In Comics." The room was packed and an hour just wasn't long enough. Lots of folks have lots to say about the subject.

      and we'll have a few drinks - only mine will be something with vodka, I don't drink beer.