Sean Christopher Hayes

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Sarah, the most prominently-featured character by The Realist

The following article is mostly autobiographical. Sean Christopher Hayes, also known as ‘’’The Realist’’’ (born December 23, 1987), is a cartoonist from Louisiana, USA.

Fandom involvement[edit]

Sean first firm involvement with the furry fandom seems to be his 2007 appearance on Fur Affinity, with his most notable artistic contributions being adult furry media.

Early Years[edit]

The origins of Hayes' fascination with cartoon animals and their design are vague at best. His own claims are that his childhood fascination with Disney and Warner Brothers cartoons spawned an interest in character design, which later became a hobby. During high school, this hobby flourished as he began intensely studying the procedures and practices of professional animators. It was then that he discovered traces of the furry fandom while searching through Warner and Hanna-Barbera fanart online. For an entire year he claims to have studied the structures of popular characters like Bugs Bunny and Tom and Jerry. Late in 2005, during his senior year in high school, a few of his artistically-inclined classmates encouraged him to break away from copyrighted characters and experiment with original designs. He began creating new characters, often with a style inspired by the works of Michele Light.

Upon entering college, Hayes found himself entering a new world of freedom of expression, and The Arts was no exception. It was during his first autumn semester in late 2006 that he produced a 68-page sketchbook filled with his numerous attempts at character design, with a few pages of a quirky stick-figure comic called "Random Shit at Midnight" interspersed between. He continued producing a small number of traditional art pieces during the spring of 2007 after completing the sketchbook.

During the summer of that year, Hayes discovered Fur Affinity and registered there as The Realist. This marked the first time any of his works were ever published. He found it a suitable place to post adult works, which he began producing regularly at that point. Many of the works that followed began to reflect an increased attention to detail and anatomy, as well as the inclusion of some hardcore adult themes--something he had not pursued prior to becoming a member of Fur Affinity.

But then in September of 2007, Hayes found himself under many social and scholastic pressures, and began to show symptoms of various mental illnesses, including severe depression, dissociation and the brief emergence of an alternate personality. It was during this time that he crafted the design for "Sarah," a Gothic- /Emo-styled female fox with an eccentric half-nude dress style. At this point, he continued producing art, but began to cause his audience much frustration with his outward signs of a hectic personal life. By the end of 2007, his female alter-personality had almost completely taken over his online activities, leaving his long-standing followers entirely confused. He found himself intermittently plagued by this alter-personality for nearly five months afterward, and a number of altercations with Fur Affinity community members erupted as a result.

It wasn't until May of 2008 that Hayes made a claim to permanently leave Fur Affinity, only to re-appear two weeks later publicly explaining the situation involving the alter-personality. He vowed that there would be no more presence of the alter-ego, and that he would be returning as the "person who started [the] account to begin with."[citation needed] And with this renewed sensibility came a new avenue of art production, including the development of a human form of his characters using the 3D rigging software Poser.

By the latter part of 2008, Hayes had expanded his online art publishing to several other sites, among them a personal art domain through the former Furtopia, deviantART, SheezyArt and the now-defunct Furry Art Pile. During these few months, his style shifted considerably, putting a greater emphasis and attention to detail on characters' faces. He continued to refine the traditional sketch and digital coloring methods, slowly garnering less pixel noise and reducing the white halo around scanned line-art. During this time he also began production on a second sketchbook anticipated to be completed by the end of that year, including the revival of the previous edition's stick-figure comic, but the goal was never attained. At that point the sketchbook consisted of many incomplete works and blank pages, and only a few of the completed works were ever posted. It was during this time that Hayes almost entirely shifted his focus away from full-nude character designs in favor of characters with a lack of clothing only below the waist.

The start of 2009 gave way to perhaps the most dramatic change in Hayes' production, marked by a transition from the prior mixed traditional line-art and digital coloring techniques to fully-digital artworks. And with the transition came a substantial improvement in the quality of works, especially those inked with Easy Paint Tool SAI. Several experiments with painting techniques and advanced soft-shading led to a marked quality increase in works produced during the early and middle parts of the year. Hayes also created a new character named "Nikki" as a venue to experiment with more extreme content, including BDSM and medical fetish themed artworks. The beginning of the year also brought about a complete cessation of all artwork produced with the Poser program, as Fur Affinity changed its Terms of Service to disallow the use of prefabricated content for CG renders. With Hayes' new digital means of artwork production, image sizes and resolution gradually expanded along with his attention to detail in the line-art toward the middle of the year. By this time the experiments with extreme content ceased when they garnered disapproval by his followers, and the character Nikki fell by the wayside. Hayes shifted focus back to his primary character Sarah, rendering her in a variety of softcore and mildly-hardcore artworks that seemed to be more suitable to his audience's tastes.

The BottomlessGirls! Fan Club[edit]

In November of 2009, Hayes founded a mildly successful fan club entitled BottomlessGirls! notably reflective of the group's focus on artworks depicting females that are unclothed only from the waist down. Several prominent artists in the fandom known for producing such artworks, including Joshua Frinkle (known as Os) and Brian McPherson quickly joined the group as regular contributors. Several sub-projects of the group, including an online version of a typical collegiate life-drawing class, failed to take off due to a lack of resources and safety concerns. However, despite these obstacles the well-organized group's popularity skyrocketed and continues to do so as more contributors join.

Decline and First Hiatus[edit]

The year 2010 showed little to no promise of new works for Hayes' audience as the artwork production decline of late 2009 continued to plummet. Very few works were produced, with minimal explanation given as to the reasons why. While financial insecurity due to a family member's medical illness may have contributed, the lack of art continued to the point that months passed between the release of single pieces of artworks. He claims to have produced numerous works during that time, but the vast majority remain unpublished and incomplete. It was during this year that Hayes also made a more prominent appearance on the popular metaverse Second Life, as a platform for crafting better character life-stories and personalities.

In the latter part of 2010, Hayes finally developed a suitable and less-jarring explanation for his constant use of a pose his primary character Sarah (and later the character Danielle) was most often seen in. The character would be depicted doubled over laying on her back with her knees bent and her hips elevated, her fully-separated legs pushed back astride her chest to the point each knee would touch the surface she lay on. Hayes claims the character has a mild form of scoliosis, and does this for short periods as a form of back pain relief. A running gag involves the character trying to pass it off as innocent, despite the prominence this pretzel-like position places on her oft-exposed genitalia due to her quirky dress style. Hayes' movtives for its use remain dubious, despite claims of a fascination purely with the challenges presented by the mechanics of this and other contortionist poses. His prior explanations for frequently drawing Sarah in the pose were convoluted at best and quite radical, which centered on a therapeutic habit/fetish stemming from the character's traumatic experience with a highly-invasive medical procedure that was recklessly performed while she was restrained in the pose. Such a concept was both implausible and extremely controversial. A short story posted to Fur Affinity on October 31, 2008 detailing these explanations was so poorly-received by his followers that it was deleted within an hour after posting.[citation needed] Hayes later admitted this explanation, which involved a combination of PTSD and Freudian Seduction Theory, was ill-conceived, and that it was entirely derived nearly detail-for-detail from a former friend's recounting of her own alleged traumatic life experience.

The Bottomless Life Comic[edit]

After the year-long hiatus, Hayes launched a Webcomic called The Bottomless Life in 2011. The original run of the comic featured four college-aged female anthro characters who lived together in a one-room studio apartment, with a shared affinity for dressing in a manner that left them nude only below the waist. It was mostly pun-centric and driven by sarcasm, with a few jokes involving physical comedy. Most comics were full-page and consisted of only three widened panels to accomodate filling the entire page. Hayes has publicly stated his intentions to relaunch the Webcomic in a new format (including character design changes and alterations to the cast lineup) sometime in the future.

Intermittent Inactivity[edit]

After the closing of Furtopia and the Webcomic's placement on indefinite inactivity, Hayes once again slipped into silence for several months before posting the first ever art of a new character he derived from a SecondLife avatar. The character, named Danielle, received a very positive review from his followers. At the end of 2011 he announced this character would be a permantent fixture in the Webcomic when it continued in the future.

In an effort to perform a bit of housecleaning, at some point in 2012, Hayes purged all his old journals off of Fur Affinity. During this year only two works were posted, one of which was to introduce a new character named Rachel. This character was introduced as a much more plausible apartment tenant than the previous character she would replace.

In March 2013, Hayes relocated to Astoria, Oregon in search of employment opportunities and a better quality of life than his home state of Louisiana could offer. Upon arrival, several artworks were uploaded featuring a character belonging to one of his roommates, and with them plans were announced to include this character in the Webcomic. After failure to procure employment, and numerous irreconcilable disagreements with both of his roommates, Hayes relocated to Mountain Home, Idaho in a spur-of-the-moment decision. All uploads featuring his Oregonian roommate's character were deleted, and mentions of any integration into the comic were removed. After two more months facing the same level of rejection, this time from new potential employers, and with looming financial issues closing in, Hayes relocated back to his home state.

Second Hiatus[edit]

For the remainder of 2013, Hayes announced efforts would be made to improve significantly in all facets of artwork, from anatomy to facial structures, inking and colouring, advanced shading as well as lighting. During this time, Hayes was able to procure employment, though for a short period before near-tragedy struck.

In mid 2014, an immediate family member of Hayes suffered a massive stroke that resulted in severe permanent disability. For the duration of the initial month-long hospital stay and transition to a rehabilitation center, Hayes put all art progress on hold to assist his family during the immediate aftermath and interim where probability of a second event was high. Hayes made a decision to forego employment in an effort to remain available at any moment in case tragedy struck. During the next several months, Hayes discovered the Garry's Mod community and began learning code in order to create a highly-customized server for the game. Nearly a year later in 2015, Hayes completed his coding project and, as his family member's health improved, Hayes began slowly resuming efforts toward artistic improvement.

These efforts would be short-lived though, as artistic endeavors would once again take a back seat to family turmoil. Faced with looming financial hardships, Hayes frantically scrambled to procure immediate employment and landed a job at a local Walmart store, where he worked for over a year. Gradually, artistic progression resumed. After compounded stress from being pressured to take on numerous lower-level managerial duties (on top of associate duties) as training for department management, Hayes decided to resign and shift his focus on returning to post-secondary education, this time concentrating on STEM programs. in April 2017, Hayes publicly stated his intentions to continue artwork production and to later re-launch the Webcomic after major reconstruction of characters and setting.

Artworks and Characters[edit]

Since Hayes' first art production in 2005, he has used a curious and unique blend of stylized facial structures and realistic human anatomy. This has been a hallmark of his style, and is one of the more prominent features of his works. Significant to many of his later works are experiments with items of clothing (such as stockings that don't cover the toes) as well as lighting, composition, anatomy and soft shading. Typically characters are dressed in classic cartoon animal fashion: only their lower bodies are exposed, mostly devoid of any pants or undergarments. Many of his works showcase female characters dressed as described above in semi-contortionist poses, often in such a way that these characters' feet and exposed genitalia are the most prominent features. A few of his pieces, however, do reflect the fine-art nude photography he often references. Some characters include piercings and temporary dye-based "tattoos."

Sarah Bailey is an Arctic fox anthro with paternless white fur, and an attitude and appearance inspired by the Gothic and Punk movements. She resides in southern California, and works as a professional model for several world-renowned fashion designers. She is also noted as consistently dressing in a way that leaves her nude below the waist, except where professional etiquette dictates otherwise. She is said to be inspired partially by Liz Vicious. Sarah grew up the adopted child of a family exhibiting red fox characteristics. She has numerous tattoos and piercings, most notably a thin red clawtooth-shaped tattoo extending above and below her right eye.

Jordan Taylor is a standard-patterned red fox anthro, and is the step-sister of Sarah. She has medium-length hair that is dyed blue, and works as a Tier 2 server administrator for a major California-based national chain bank.

Rebecca Ravenhurst is a standard-patterned red fox anthro with the orange parts of her fur dyed purple. She was the former romantic partner of Sarah. (Hayes has conceded ownership of this character back to her original creator).

Danielle McKee-Bailey is a non-standard black Siberian husky anthro with modified facial markings and green eyes. Like Sarah, she consistently appears nude below the waist, which reveals a heart tattoo on her left butt cheek. She exhibits a significant amount more feral behaviors than Sarah, the most prominent of which is chewing on one or both hind-paws. Generally she is the character most often used for experimentation with poses and fetish material concepts.

External links[edit]

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