This is a vector t-shirt design that I have made for a clothing line under the Dear Dictators brand (the company I started with my husband). It will be sold locally by our partners in the UK & Korea, and in North America directly by me.
I am a big supporter of LGBT equality in Russia, and I have made many fine artworks depicting mostly the lesbian aspect of Russia, and the Soviet Union. I think it is good to devote equal time to the men, so this design is for the bears, and bear chasers! If you are not familiar, I am not talking about your cute cuddly Paddington or Steiff Bears, I am talking about the homosexual male subculture devoted to big hairy masculine men whom are referred to as “bears”. It’s a fairly large subculture, they even have their own flag. It is a variation of the rainbow flag with earth colors, and this is the palette I choose to work from in this design.
I thought President Putin would be a perfect model for the design. Our President loves to kiss things, be it fish, children, or Edward Snowden. It’s not a stretch in any way that he would be seen kissing not only the mascot of his country, but his political party (United Russia) as well. I also wanted to the bear to resemble the VDV soldiers (Russian Air Force) which played a shameful role in this years VDV Day (Air Force Day) celebrations which take place every August 2nd. It is a day where town councils everywhere must switch off their fountains to discourage the drunken revelry of all the soldiers. If you watch this video, you will see how they drunkenly attack a homosexual man for no reason. There’s not much to laugh about in that video, but I think a fair number of people must have just assumed it was a group of gay soldiers attacking a random guy. I know that’s what first went through my mind…the whole incident is Freudian for sure.
With all the talk about Sochi, and my last article suggesting that LGBT Russians be granted asylum in the West, I thought this was the perfect follow-up. There are many bears in Russia, and I think it is time they got some Western love!