The Erotic Art of Mr Gruts

We sit down with homoerotic illustrator Mr Gruts who describes his work as “gleefully sleazy hand drawn bara art”.

Bara, in case you don’t already know (because we didn’t) is defined by Wiktionary as “any homoerotic media or pornography that accentuates macho masculinity”.  I’m sure you will agree that Mr Gruts’ work more than fits that descriptor, providing a feast for the eyes and imagination.

Get to know more about this talented artist below and see some SFW examples of his work. (Find out where you can check out uncensored versions below.)

BWM: Tell us a bit about your background, who you are, where you’re from, how you started creating art?

Mr Gruts: I’m Mr Gruts and I’m an illustrator from New Zealand. I started creating images as a shy child, often drawing monsters and characters in front of a television set.

BWM: What is it about bears and heavier set men that makes you want to incorporate them into your art?

Mr Gruts: Because they’re more representative of the population. I’ve always had crushes for the men around me more than the idealizations projected in mass media.

BWM: Do you consider yourself to be a part of the bear or leather community?

Mr Gruts: I’m a very solitary person. I admire the bear and leather community from afar. Doing this art online has been a great way to connect with some wonderful people. Also, I have a beard and several tartan flannel shirts, so I guess that makes me a bear?

BWM: Are you professionally trained or self-taught? Tell us about that.

Mr Gruts: Both. I went to Primary, Secondary and Tertiary institutions. I regret my time studying in art school. I made the mistake of studying photography because academically I was doing better at it. The course concentrated on postmodern theory rather than developing technique. I had learnt more during six months of an independent animation course than I had in the university’s four year art program.

BWM: You won the Tom of Finland Foundation’s Emerging Artist competition in 2020. Tell us about your relationship to his art and how it has inspired you. 

Mr Gruts: I’d discovered his work as an anxious teenager. My friend and I had dared to venture into an adult shop on Karangahape Road. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was instantly transfixed by his mastery of rendering forms. Sadly, at the time, I would have been dismissive of his work as I was struggling with internalized homophobia which had manifested itself in some pretty toxic integrationist viewpoints. Many years later I watched Dome Karukoski’s 2017 Tom of Finland movie and was inspired with both a sense of validity for erotic arts and the value of uniquely queer voices. I subsequently went to “Tom House” in LA, a home base for the Tom of Finland Foundation which primarily focuses on conserving erotic artwork. I spent hours looking over the archives and the bedroom where Tom had stayed. For me, Tom’s strength was not only in his exceptional work as a draftsman, but with the agency he imbued in his characters. These weren’t floating pin-ups staring vacantly at the viewer. They’re passionate men filled with desire, reveling in each other’s masculine characteristics and love of cock. These macho, emotionally charged connections are Tom’s major influence on my work.

Winning The Tom of Finland Foundation’s Emerging Artist competition in 2020 was an honor that I’ll always be thankful for. I’d never won anything before, and it gave me validation in knowing some people thought my work was worthwhile. Subsequently I joined social media and found an audience.

BWM: In addition to hypermasculine men you feature mythical creatures in your work. Tell us about that. Do you create comics or graphic novels as well?

Mr Gruts: I grew up enjoying ancient Greek and Roman history. Peering past the heteronormative veneer of modern interpretation, there’s a wealth of representation in bisexual heroes and gods. In their mythologies, the creatures are often representative of the lack of civility. Satyrs revel in drunken debauchery, frequently depicted in pottery as sexually aroused and trying to inflict their desires upon others.
I treat mythological creatures as both extensions and limiters of human emotions. They’re the physical manifestation of heightened desire and loss of inhibition. The types of being they are works as a persona which represents familiar characteristics to the viewer. It’s a sort of character shorthand which speaks across cultural boundaries.
I’ve dabbled in graphic novel format with several short works. It’s something I’m gradually developing alongside my more rendered pieces. I love the ability to construct a richer narrative and atmosphere through character’s voices with which to arouse the viewer. I’ve managed to complete several works including some featuring a Scottish police officer, an old school coach, a giant caveman, kiwi gym bunnies, ancient orcs, various transformation scenes, and some speculative fiction works (sci fi & fantasy).

BWM: Tell us about the upcoming ToF show you are participating in and the pieces you donated.

Mr Gruts: Certainly. The upcoming Tom of Finland Art & Cultural Festival will be enjoying its 40th year since its establishment. It will be showing in Berlin from 31st May – 2nd June, London 5th October – 6th October and then Los Angeles with dates to be confirmed. I encourage anyone interested to go to:

I was approached by the Foundation about the possibility of submitting work. I went ahead and donated three new pieces as I believe so strongly in their mission. The works I submitted include : two bikers with their pants down wearing ball weights, a pirate lapping up his own semen after frotting a cannon and a more intellectual piece representing the plight currently faced by sex workers under current ham-fisted monetary policy. 

They will be available to view on the dates mentioned as well as on my social media.

BWM: Where can we see/ purchase your work? Social media profiles? Websites?

Mr Gruts: You can view my work in its entirety at:

My “Mean” tier on Patreon currently features access to a Google Drive which includes access to high resolution scans of all my previous erotic work, making-of videos, sketches and limited-access full resolution downloads of the monthly picture/comic.

You can view cropped and censored versions at:

BWM: What big projects are you working on? What is coming next?

Mr Gruts: I’m always working on a monthly project voted for by my very kind grutlings on Patreon. This month they voted for “Vikings” which I’m currently rendering in acrylic.

Upcoming I’m doing more comics, physical works and whatever theme my grutlings vote for next into the foreseeable future. I’m always trying to refine my craft, and this career path has offered me a great opportunity which I feel passionately about.

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