Eugene Bilbrew, also known as Gene Bilbrew [Edit]

Eugene Bilbrew, also known as Gene Bilbrew (1923-1974) was the first African-American career fetish artist in history.

When Eric Stanton attended the Cartoonists and Illustrators School in the early 1950s, Bilbrew was one of his classmates. Stanton introduced Bilbrew to Irving Klaw. Klaw later commissioned and distributed illustrated adventure/bondage chapter serials by Bilbrew and others.

Starting in the mid-1950s, Bilbrew was among the most prolific illustrators of fetish-oriented pulp book covers. In addition to signing his work under his own name, he produced art under a range of pseudonyms, including ENEG (“Gene” spelled backwards), Van Rod, and Bondy.

He was a frequent contributor to Exotique (which ran from 1955 to 1959) and other magazines produced by Leonard Burtman.

In the 1950s, Bilbrew was among the first to paint images of Bettie Page.

Bilbrew’s style was influenced by the style in which Sweet Gwendoline was drawn by John Alexander Scott Coutts.


In 2019 the National Leather Association – International created the Erotic Art Awards; the awards include the Gene Bilbrew Award (for animation).

Further Reading

GENE BILBREW REVEALED: The Unsung Legacy of a Fetish Art Pioneer, by Richard Pérez Seves. New York, Fethistory, 2019. ISBN 978-1072487548