Artist James Dillenbeck (@jamesdillenbeck on Instagram) and writer Alex Smith met through instagram-- Smith was fascinated with Dillenbeck's fantastic work, admiring the strange and surreal worlds he created that combined 80's retrofuturism, weird fantasy elements inspired by HEAVY METAL magazine, Mad Max and Bladerunner. Dillenbeck's work featured men of size, plus-size gay "bears" (cyberchunks!) in heroic positions, being sexual, spiritual and powerful in their bodies.
The art was the perfect marriage for Alex Smith's worlds, like the sci-fi stories found in ARKDUST that featured similarly cast heroes in super-hero and cyberpunk and Afrofuturist settings. A dream match! We met and became fast friends, spending our days talking about cyborgs, sumo wrestlers, comics, music and, of course, hot sexy bear dudes like two best friends who'd never met. BLACK VANS is a culmination of those conversations.