Hailing from New Zealand, our next erotic artist being featured on the list of Muscle Service Erotic Artists is an award-winning creator that goes by Mr. Gruts. Grand Prize winner of the 10th Tom of Finland Emerging Artist Competition held last year, Mr. Gruts art embodies some of the great features we love in the burly alpha males that we always praise and worship here at Muscle Service. Looking forward to seeing what he has in store for us!

Eddie: First off, congratulations on winning the Tom of Finland Emerging Artist Competition 2020! What made you choose the winning piece “Country Club”? Did you create something for the competition or submit this because you had it and thought it would be the perfect piece?

Mr. Gruts: Thank you! I was extremely honoured to receive the prize. I had been dabbling in producing erotic artwork for two years before the event. When I heard about the competition through the Tom of Finland Newsletter I had decided that it would be the perfect event to test whether or not people liked my work. I drew “Country Club” specifically for the competition as I wanted to produce something that had the sense of fun that Tom had in his drawings.

Eddie: Tell us how you came to practice your craft? When did you first start? Was the goal to always create sexy art or something else? Where did the interest start to want to start creating homoerotic art?

Mr. Gruts: I drew a lot when I was a young kid. I was drawing a wide range of subjects, usually lots of monsters. My interest in art continued throughout my life and I studied Fine Arts during my tertiary education. However, after completing my studies I felt aimless and dabbled in several career paths. I had most recently been illustrating for games studios and publishing houses. The subjects often involved people and monsters in the midst of fighting. I became disillusioned with the formula I was repeatedly asked to produce. I became inspired by Dome Karukoski’s “Tom of Finland” movie.

Subsequently, I visited Tom House in Echo Park, Los Angeles (famed to be the most extensive collection of homoerotic artwork besides the Vatican). I met Durk Dehner (a founding member of the Tom of Finland Foundation) and showed him some of my very early work and he convinced me that I should continue to develop my craft. My dear Mum and two sisters were also very supportive and encouraging. So now instead of drawing people trying to kill each other, I draw illustrations of men pleasuring each other. I think it says a lot about our society that one is deemed more acceptable than the other and that in part drives me to produce work. I also just really enjoy turning guys on.

Eddie: Most of your art are depictions of hyper-masculine, muscular burly versions of men. Where do you get your inspiration? Do you create them after men you admire? Any men you know?

Mr. Gruts: I like a wide variety of body types. However, a man’s personality, expression, gait, and garb are my main areas of attraction. I try to mainly illustrate men with larger and less defined bodies not only because I find them physically appealing, but because mass media is unrelenting with its fetishization of low body fat muscular models. Just as women are continually faced with idealization of their bodies, I think this can also have a self-destructive effect on men struggling to attain this perceived expectation.

I want to counter this representation and help men realise they are sexy whatever their body type, race or ability. The ones who actualise this sexual self-confidence are the ones that inspire me and I certainly admire them. I try to translate this sexual confidence into my work, but I don’t base it on individuals. My mental notes are of desirable male aspects, but the work itself is built up from purely imagined sketches. I concentrate on how characters communicate to each other with their expressions.

Eddie: Who are some of your favorite bodybuilders, athletes, and/ or pornstars? Have any inspired any characters in your designs?

Mr. Gruts: I’m a fan of a lot of porn stars, particularly ones with lots of facial expressions and confident dirty talk. Classics: Jon Vincent, Hank Hightower and Joe Romero. Bears: Venice Cub, Michael McQuaig, Colby Jansen, and Monster Cub. Others: John Magnum, Jake Gianelli, Peto Coast, Hugh Hunter, and Romeo Davis. Damien Crosse in particular has one of the most deliciously expressive faces in porn. It’s quite a skill to be believably aroused in pornography and it’s always inspiring to see great acting enhancing the fantasy. I think that also has a lot to do with good direction; Joe Gage and Chi Chi LaRue in particular get some great performances from their actors.

Eddie: What is your favorite fantasy that you have drawn to date? Favorite pic beside the winning artwork? (If you have it and we can feature it, that would be great)

Mr. Gruts: I quite like the interracial Orc piece I recently illustrated for my patrons, but I also love the other entry I submitted to the Tom of Finland Emerging Artist Competition 2020 : “Herakles and Satyrs”. There’s something very erotic about the idea of an entity whose entire lifestyle is devoted to hedonism and living in the moment.

Eddie: When did you start finding out you had fans following your artwork? Any messages from fans that have stood out to you?

Mr. Gruts: I learnt only recently that anyone liked my work. Entering the Tom of Finland Emerging Artist Competition last year was the first time I showed finished erotic work to anyone. Receiving the grand prize feels like the complete validation for my career in art and I will carry that to my grave! I’ve been lucky enough to have some very kind fans write to me on Twitter and Instagram about how much they like my artwork. I’m happiest when I hear how turned on a viewer is when they see my artwork. Having a sexual response to an artwork is the best critique I can receive.

Eddie: We are all about supporting each other here in similar interests. Any other artists you love to follow?

Mr. Gruts: I follow many artists, but the ones that have had the greatest influence on me are, Seizoh Ebisubashi; Michael Kirwan; Ralf König; Jiraiya and of course Tom of Finland. Despite some of these artists having passed on, people have been thoughtful enough to help keep their work alive by uploading scans of their work (which is very useful for studying).

Eddie: How often do you produce new content?

All the time! Not all the material I produce makes it online, but I now dedicate most of my schedule to developing homoerotic content. I spend a great deal of time on producing a detailed “Picture of The Month” for my patrons over on Patreon. Patrons get to vote on what type of scene they’d like to see and I make it my mission to deliver as fine a depiction as I can.

Eddie: Is there a project you’ve been working on you cannot wait to complete? (Full comic, new characters, etc.?) What is new for 2021? Any other competitions you hope to participate in?

Mr. Gruts: I launched my Patreon last month and am overjoyed with the number of people joining. At the moment this is my current project as I’m still learning the ropes. This provides me with a wealth of material to work through as well as some challenges. I’m learning new things all the time. I utilized speech bubbles, dirty talk, and a multi-scene narrative in my Orc image for the first time. I’m looking forward to the next Picture of The Month which looks as though it will feature rugby lads.

Eddie: Where can people follow and reach you at? Do you commission artwork and how much would that be?

Mr. Gruts: The best place to find my work is on my Patreon site. I have a high-resolution back catalogue available to patrons. Otherwise, I upload some work on my Twitter account and censored versions on my Instagram account.

At the moment I’m unable to accept commissions due to my current workload. However, this may change in the coming months, so please keep your eyes on my Twitter status if you’re interested.