Polish artist Sebastian Janisiewicz explores in his 3D prints and art the realms and abs of hypermasculine furries and hairy bodies. Inspired by video games and online subcultures, with the perfect digitally-crafted pecs exhibited in physical spaces, his work transcends established notions of gender identity on a search for genuine connections with the beholder.

You work with themes such as masculinity, sexual fantasies or human-animal hybrid crosspieces. Can you tell us why you chose those themes and what draws you to them?

As a trans man I put much attention to masculinity. My personal opinion is that there is no character or appearance feature that defines sex, but I like to play with cultural stereotypes, exaggerate and hypermasculinize characters that I create. That doesn’t mean they identify as men – we won’t know unless we ask them. The experience of being queer in my case is connected to the feeling of alienation, as if you were another species, and that is where my interest in hybrids, avatars evolved from. I think that’s why it is popular amongst non-normative people to escape to the furry community and a fantasy world.

To dig a bit deeper into the correlation to our theme on desire, how would you desire your artwork to be approached by viewers in galleries?

For me, the most important thing is the meeting, a relation. This moment when you meet an animal in the forest and you look each other in the eyes and decide whether you’re a threat towards each other. Or in the club, when you look at someone dancing and your eyes meet. That’s why when it comes to exhibitions I prefer physical objects, preferably white which you can have an interaction with, to hold them like my Duszka sculpture – the big teddy.

Is there any background story to your furry warriors that resemble a mashup of anime and PC games characters? Are you inspired by any pop-culture fandom characters in games, movies and the like?

Yes! The Lovehammer project, which we created together with artist Jan Możdżyński, developed into a playable, artistic RPG in which you choose a character from our army of figures and embark on a journey on a specially designed game board. That is where you meet the rest of the characters and interact with them. The game promotes cooperation rather than competition. There are no winners or losers and the purpose of the game is personal growth, an interesting story, and fun. Each character has its own background story, for example the werewolf’s name is Us and it is two people in one body that try to eat each other, creating a never-ending dance of destruction and regeneration. They represent inner conflict as well as rebirth and purification. I am also inspired by characters from pop culture that I consider sexy – for example Beast from Beauty and the Beast, Bepop from Ninja Turtles and Bowser from Mario.

Are your artpieces connected to any issues of identity or gender? If yes, in what way do you like to present your furry hunks, should viewers question if they are likeable or sexual characters, or are they a link to your fantasies? 

The process of sculpting and building muscles and hypermasculine features allows me in, a sense, to fulfil my fantasies, maybe not sexual, but the identity-based ones. For a moment I become the character that I’m creating. So far I have avoided showing genitals, it is a clue that the characters I create don’t have to be normative and their sexual identity is not obvious even though they look masculine. Recently I made a mermaid, which is an idea I would like to develop. I am interested in showing masculinity in a non penis-centric way.

Our current theme is “Full of Desire”. So I’d like to ask you what your dream goal is, or what you desire for yourself as an artist right now, and what would be the ultimate achievement for you?

Considering the point I am at now, it is hard to imagine some final success or end of my path. I still have many things on my list that I would like to explore, techniques I would like to try. It would be helpful to constantly cooperate with a team of creators or institutions, having access to technology and resources so I could focus on my work.

Finally, are you currently preparing any new exhibition or project we can look forward to?

At this moment I am working on a trailer for the festival Tanztage Berlin, from 13th of January you can see Duszka in Gallery Sledzinskich in Bialystok, and in the middle of February I might be showing some of my figures in Mexico City.

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Sebastian Janisiewicz (@sebulec) studied Animated Film at the Faculty of Graphic Arts of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. He works with 3D graphics, animation, 3D printers and game engines; he pays particular attention to the figures of virtual companions, avatars and guides and their references to the queer community. He is also inspired by the culture and aesthetics of online fandoms, furries and game mods.


Artwork / Sebastian Janisiewicz @sebulec

Intrview / Markéta Kosinová

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