Images of masculine men, dressed and undressed, are earning this artist a cult following
Fans of erotic male illustration and anime may already be aware of the work of Cauro Hige. The publication of his first book, Bearutus, last year, brought him to the attention of a whole new audience and his fan base continues to grow.
Hige grew up in Osaka, Japan and studied Psychology at Kyoto University.
A self-taught artist, he recently relocated to Barcelona for work and to improve his Spanish. He works full-time as an artist and graphic designer.
Hige is a pseudonym he took as the start of his career: ‘I wanted to set myself free from my father, with whom I had a feud for decades. He was an artist, too.’
He’s vague about his age, telling me he was born ‘sometimes in the 1970s’.
He’s much more comfortable discussing his work and influences, telling MaleSpace, ‘I have been painting for as long as I can remember. I began male figures as my main theme openly in my late teens.
Hige’s father trained him in the art of wood block printing. Hige now paints in a variety of medium: commonly acrylic colors on plywood or digitally.
He says he began drawing men out of curiosity at first, but soon found his continued desire to represent them irresistible. His work has featured in exhibitions in the US and Japan.
In terms of influences, he name checks Vincent van Gogh and David Hockney.
‘Their works represent opposite elements at once: ‘being bold and sensitive’ or ‘being bright and lonely’. They always achieve harmony through a combination of opposite elements.’
‘I enjoy transforming the figure’: Cauro Hige
Hige draws primarily from photographs. His men, clothed or naked, are at ease in their masculinity. Some of the images are more explicit than those shown here.
‘I always refer to photographs while drawing. Reality usually surpasses imagination. But a copy of reality is not what I long for. I enjoy transforming the figure, sometimes completely into someone else.
‘I gaze at my drawing for hours and for days, and modify details one by one, stretching the imagination, till I’m satisfied.’
He says the process is ‘backbreaking but fun at the same time.’
He was touched and encouraged by the response to Bearutus. It also helped him find new models.
‘I wrote in the book, “How pleasing it would be if any one of you shows me their selfie with this book”, and scores of nice guys granted my request!’
Despite the title of the book, Hige paints different types of guys, although clearly has an eye for the bigger, bearier figure: ‘I don’t like to be monotonous.’
As for the future, he says he’d love to have an exhibition in Europe or publish another book: ‘There’s no telling what will happen tomorrow.’
Check out more of Cauro’s work at CauroHige.com