Sean Christopher Hayes

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Sarah, the most prominently-featured character by The Realist

Sean Christopher Hayes, better known artistically as The Realist (born December 23, 1987), is a cartoonist from Louisiana, USA.

Fandom involvement[edit]

His involvement in the furry fandom is questionable, since he claims to be "simply a cartoonist who happens to draw cartoon animals best."[citation needed] However, since his 2007 appearance on Fur Affinity entrenched him within the fandom. Despite his claims of disassociation with "all things Furry", his most notable artistic contributions are adult furry media.

The Artist[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 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 Fandom while searching through Warner and Hanna-Barbera fanart. For an entire year he claims to have studied the designs of popular characters like Bugs Bunny and Tom and Jerry before finally branching off into his own character design. Late in 2005, his senior year in high school, he experimented with design, and was often inspired by the works of Michele Light. He was further introduced to the Fandom by two self-proclaimed Furries at his high school.

Upon entering college, Hayes found himself entering a world of newfound freedom of expression, and the arts was no exception. It was during his first Fall semester in late 2006 that he produced a 68-page sketchbook filled with his numerous attempts at mastering design practices, as well as a few stick-figure comics. He continued producing a small number of pieces during the spring of 2007 after completing the sketchbook.

During the summer of that year, Hayes came across 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 his works from mid-2007 reflect an increased attention to detail and anatomy, as well as the inclusion of some hardcore adult themes--something he had not done 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 Multiple Personality Disorder. It was during this time that he discovered the design for "Sarah," the Gothic fox he named after his own alter-ego. 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-ego had almost completely taken over his online activities, and few (if any) of his followers even recognized his true identity. He found himself plagued by this alter-personality for nearly five months afterward.

It wasn't until May of 2008 that Hayes (after claiming to have permanently left Fur Affinity for two weeks) re-appeared as the "person who started [the] account to begin with." And with this renewed sensibility came a measure of improvement for him, including the development of a human form of his characters using the computer-graphic program Poser. He also began producing digitally colored artworks, and developed a method of outlining images in pencil using a sketching process that imitates ink. He also completed a personal Web space, and joined several other art sites as well.

By the latter part of 2008, Hayes had expanded his online art publishing to several other sites, among them deviantART 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 pencil-ink 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, complete with the revival of the previous edition's quirky stick-figure comic "Random Shit at Midnight", but the goal was never reached. At that point the sketchbook consisted of many incomplete works and blank pages, and only a few of the completed works were ever posted.

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 began experimenting with a new character (Nikki) as the subject of more extreme forms of content, including medically-themed works. The beginning of the year also brought about a complete cessation of all works produced with the Poser program, as FurAffinity changed its Terms of Service to disallow prefabricated meshes for CG content.

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 audience, and the character Nikki fell by the wayside. Hayes shifted focus back to his primary character, rendering her in a variety of pin-up artworks that seemed to be more suitable to his audience's tastes.

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 into nothingness. 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 is said to have been producing works during that time, but that by the year's end the vast majority, even works started at the beginning of the year, remained incomplete.

In the latter part of 2010, Hayes finally developed a valid explanation for his constant over-use of a pose his primary character Sarah is most often seen in. The character lays on her back with her fully-bent knees and separated legs drawn to her chest to the point of touching each shoulder. She is said to have a mild form of scoliosis, and does this as a form of back pain relief. The character tries to maintain the innocence of this action, but is unsuccessful mostly due to the highly sexual nature of the position along with the fact that she rarely wears any garments on her lower body. However, both her and her creator's motives for the use of the pose remain questionably sexual. Hayes' prior explanations for using it were convoluted, centered on the position's fictitious use in medical procedures and were both implausible and disturbing. The new explanation sits well with audiences and gives Hayes license to continue using the pose with his character Sarah in artworks.

Overall Hayes has a very limited role within the Fandom aside from art. At the time of this writing, he has made no appearances at any furry convention. Very few people that have seen Hayes face-to-face know of his involvement in cartoon arts and the Fandom alike.

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 females that are unclothed only from the waist down. Several prominent artists in the Fandom known for producing appropriately-themed 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 throughout 2010 and continues to do so as more contributors join.

Artworks and Characters[edit]

Since Hayes' first art production in 2005, he has used a curious and unique blend of the stylized faces common in animation and realistic human anatomy for characters' bodies. 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 a way that leaves their lower bodies totally 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.

Many of the latter artworks produced by Hayes include his primary character Sarah, who is a bi-sexual Arctic vixen with an attitude and appearance inspired by the Gothic and Punk movements. She fictitiously lives in Long Beach, California and works as a professional model for several fashion designers. She is also noted as consistently dressing in a state of nudity below the waist, and is often seen laying on her back with her legs spread. Other minor characters include Jordan (her sister) and Bekky (her lover). She is said to be inspired partially by Liz Vicious

The Realist's Art Haven on Furtopia was Hayes' answer to creating a personal artistic portfolio. Opened officially in its completed format in October of 2008, the site offers many of his works not shown in any other gallery.

External links[edit]

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