BWM Awards

Meet the Nominees: Best Bear Artist

Voting is now open for the second annual Bear World Magazine Awards presented by Bike Athletic in association with Growlr App and the Crown & Anchor.

Take a minute to get to know the nominees for Best Bear Artist. Then be sure cast your vote by April 30th!


BEARPAD showcases big, beautiful, and diverse bodies in colorful and stylized graphic illustrations and in their art installations featuring large wooden cut outs of bears.

How does your identity as a bear or your ties to the bear community influence your art? 

The art speaks to personal experiences of various bear gatherings which usually involve a good deal of snuggling and rubbing up against each other with a feeling of collective care and celebration of many different types of people. Our art as Bearpad imagines a world of possibility where inclusivity and body acceptance are the norm. We don’t much care for labels but to be a fuzzy cuddly thing seems pretty good to us, especially in a group setting. 

Why have you chosen to feature bears in your art?

We believe the bear community has an opportunity to radically be a diverse celebration of all body types, young and old. It’s a rare queer subculture that feels cozy and accommodating in ways that others haven’t. Also, chubby guys are cute!

Benjamine Lester

Benjamine Lester’s captivating and thought-provoking artwork redefines traditional notions of masculinity and celebrate its contemporary expression.

How does your identity as a bear or your ties to the bear community influence your art?

Growing up a husky kid, my world was flooded with messages that my body was not good enough.  Of course, I learned to reject that BS and love myself for who I was as I refused to carry prescribed shame from a thinness obsessed culture.  As a young adult, I found the Bear Community where, for the first time, I was allowed to feel sexy, allowed to celebrate the men I thought were sexy.  This has been the core principles of my art for the last 12 years.  Giving a voice to the truth that Big Hairy Men are sexy, their bodies are Art, and their community is worthy of celebration.

Why have you chosen to feature bears in your art?

Cus Bears are hot! lol.  No seriously, some artists are drawn to beautiful beaches or sleepy mountains, but that was never going to be me. I am drawn the majesty and  gravitas of Big Hairy Naked Men.  Who can blame me?  I get to look at the sexy Bears, all day, everyday, exploring their beauty, masculinity and connection.  And because of this, I’m nominated for awards such as this one. 

Glenn Quigley

Glenn Quigley is an author and artist originally from Tallaght in Dublin, Ireland, and now living in Lisburn, Northern Ireland with his husband. He is the author of six novels, many of which feature fiery, seafaring bears. When not writing, he paints portraits in watercolours. He also designs for the popular brand, as well as providing the visual identity for the largest gay bear weekend in Ireland, Béar Féile.

Why have you chosen to feature bears in your art?

There’s an adage that says “write what you know” and bears (or at least men we would identify as bears) are the protagonists of all of my books. Big men always seem to get sidelined in mainstream media — we’re the bodyguards, or the henchmen, or at most the best friend — we’re rarely the focus of stories so I like to think I’m doing my bit to redress the balance in some small way.

Joshua R Pangborn

Joshua R Pangborn is the creative force and founder behind SideKick Productions. He is the creator, writer and star of Skeleton Crew and Demon Doctor, two series very familiar to our community. He also has two horror films in post production: A Taste of Youth and The Brooklyn Butcher, coming soon!

How does your identity as a bear or your ties to the bear community influence your art? 

I started my company, SideKick Productions, with the intention of featuring queer, fat voices and centering stories on these characters. I was tired of reading stories and seeing films that kept fat, queer voices on the sidelines, and I thought it was time someone celebrated them. If other folk weren’t going to do that, it was up to me then! Part of it comes from a place of wanting to be able to play roles that had been denied me (and they always say to write what you want to play and write what you know), and part of it comes from my wanting to celebrate the amazing talents around me and give them a chance to do the same. 

Why have you chosen to feature bears in your art?

Bears are beautiful, wonderful people who deserve to have the spotlight shone on them. The problem is, the vast majority of mainstream entertainment doesn’t see that. So I feel a responsibility to create worlds in the work I write that would have changed my life when I was growing up–if I had read short stories and novels or seen film and television that told me what I looked like was not just okay, it was to be celebrated, I would have overcome a lot of years of self-doubt. So I want to provide bears of all ages a place where they can look and see themselves portrayed in stories that are more than about losing weight, or being the safe, sexless (not to be confused with asexual) friend to the main character. I want to provide bears with stories they can see themselves in, and be proud and excited. 

Mark-Eugene Garcia

Mark-Eugene Garcia is a a Mexican/Honduran playwright and actor. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild and A.S.C.A.P. Bear audiences will recognize him as one of the lead actors in Sidekick Productions’ Demon Doctor. He has also guested on Skeleton Crew and is slated to star in the upcoming A Taste of Youth.

How does your identity as a bear or your ties to the bear community influence your art? 

When I was younger and coming out, my first hook up, crush and gay heartbreak was a bear. A really cute one. Then the friends who guided me out of that mess were also my Bear friends. They were the guys who led me through the process and welcomed me into the gay community. They  also taught me that I, along with the body I was self conscious about, was something to celebrate. That’s something I’ve always held close to my heart. 

Why have you chosen to feature bears in your art?

In the professional world, I’ve been really lucky to work with groups, casts, and productions that value all body types- especially my favorite 😉 I’d like to shout out another nominee, Joshua Pangborn, who really goes above and beyond for the community by creating a spotlight and platform that showcases and celebrates bears. I’m so grateful to know him and be part of his Sidekick productions. I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced a community as welcoming and wonderful as the bear community. Of course I want to work with and be a part of it! 


Polleiro is an artist from Barcelona who specializes in erotic watercolors and illustrations of hot bears and daddies in various stages of undress doing various types of…activities. An experienced comic book artist by trade, he first turned his talents towards bear bodies and sexuality during the pandemic and has quickly (and rightfully) found an eager fan base within our community.

How does your identity as a bear or your ties to the bear community influence your art?

I would say that my art and my life are almost the same thing…

I have some friends who are bears and also hunters or admirers. When we meet at bear bars, it’s funny how they always tell me about some big bear they’ve seen at the gym or walking down the street, even in the supermarket, that look like they were taken from my illustrations!

I always tell them to take photos and send them to me! XD

Why have you chosen to feature bears in your art?

I draw and paint bears because as an artist I constantly seek pleasure in my art, and there is nothing that gives me more pleasure than representing the generous, voluptuous and hair-covered forms of large and mature men…

The more I paint them, the more I enjoy drawing with my pencil those wonderful curves and giving them volume with watercolor, I feel like they come to life before me.

Vote for your favorite Bear Artist HERE!

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