Gene Bilbrew ( 1923 – 1974) was an American cartoonist and fetish artist working mainly in the genres of femdom and bondage. In addition to signing his work with his own name, he drew under a range of pseudonyms, including Eneg (“Gene” spelled backwards), Van Rod, and Bondy.
Throughout his life, he took freelance assignments within the African American community, for instance producing modernized cover art for Victorian-era lottery numbers books.
The start of Bilbrew’s “bizarre art” career came in 1951 through underground artist and pioneer Eric Stanton, whom Bilbrew met while attending Cartoonists and Illustrators School. From then on, Bilbrew focused on fetish art, producing work for notable underground publishers Irving Klaw, Edward Mishkin, Stanley Malkin, and the Sturman brothers. He also notably produced many illustrations and covers for Leonard Burtman, publisher of Exotique, a fetish magazine published between 1955 and 1959.
While his career waned with the coming of relaxed censorship laws of the 1960s, his substance abuse worsened in the early 1970s.
According to Eric Stanton, Gene Bilbrew died in the back of a Times Square adult bookstore in May, 1974
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