Artiomboy is an OnlyFans Anthropologist

Artiomboy is an OnlyFans Anthropologist

BYIvan GuzmanJul 01, 2024

If YouTube is the new cable, then YouTubers are the new A-Listers. We’re here to profile all the YouTube legends — past and present — who are influencing the cultural landscape and reinventing the internet as we know it. This is Thumbnail.

If you’re a terminally online gay guy like me, you know the faces: those OnlyFans boys who you can’t seem to get away from as you scroll. You’ve probably been served the content by the algorithm — those gay-focused on-the-street reportage short-form videos at Pride fests or in Provincetown where some twink with a mic asks strangers, “Top or bottom?” or “What do you think about open relationships?” It’s cheap content made for easy clicks, tapping into some sort of internal gay desire for brainworms-esque entertainment.

But there’s a creator who is doing it like no one else: Artiomboy. For the 27-year-old Ukrainian YouTuber, being gay and asking questions about it has become a full-time career and a fast pass to internet virality. “I was tired of working regular jobs,” he tells PAPER. “And I knew that I wanted to do YouTube, so I watched a lot of YouTube videos about how to do YouTube.”

Now, he’s established his niche. As a gay OnlyFans investigative journalist, Artiomboy, real name Art Bezrukavenko, pulls these porn stars out of their self-contained sex bubbles and into real life. He asks them questions like, “How did you come out?” and “What’s the worst part of doing OnlyFans?” The answers he receives can be illuminating, revealing the human behind these Greek God-like online sex figures.

“The bigger mission is that we’re still normalizing gay existence,” he says. “I don’t really do what I do for money, I do it because I’m good at it.” Some of Bezrukavenko’s most-viewed videos are sit-down interviews with legendary “iykyk” gay porn performers like Reno Gold, Ace Carter and even the founder of Grindr. He touches on deep subjects like the realities of conversion therapy, religious upbringings, surviving as a gay in prison and addiction. In a way, Art’s depiction of these OnlyFans models makes them more interesting than mainstream Hollywood celebrities — they’re true harbingers of what the modern day American dream is becoming.

In 2014, Bezrukavenko fled Ukraine when the war started and moved to Poland, still in the closet. He was in survival mode, going to school full-time and working any job he could find. He came to the United States in 2017 and hopped around the country, living in Chicago, LA and Austin, all while working odd jobs and simultaneously dealing with immigration issues. “I moved here with $500 and my American dream,” he says. Then, COVID happened, and as is the case for many of the OnlyFans creators he spotlights, something shifted.

Having finally experienced gay love and accepted his sexuality, he was ready to bring it online. Bezrukavenko’s first taste of virality was a clip of him waving a pride flag in front of a Bank of America, he tells me — a symbolic nod to his journey as a queer immigrant. Eventually, he landed in New York City, where he lives now, and went full-throttle with the content creation. “I had to get out of my apartment because it was so lonely,” he says. So, he went to the park, where he interviewed people in hopes of finding connections. Naturally, it turned into interviews about being gay, and with a background in journalism combined with a cute face, Bezrukavenko hit the ground running.

“I didn’t see on the internet people talking about stuff that gay people are interested in,” he says. “We have RuPaul’s Drag Race, but that’s about drag queens. I didn’t see basic questions that regular people talk about in a bar.” This candid gay questionnaire style of content has become his bread-and-butter. With video titles like “Asking drunk gay people crazy questions” and “Midwest Gays are living in a different universe,” Art’s channel has become a sort of travel excursion where he hops into different cities and inhabits the gay scene there as an on-the-street journalist eager to uncover the underbellies of gay American pockets.

Although he has an OnlyFans, Bezrukavenko doesn’t do porn. He has never shown nudity online, instead opting for a role as an outsider looking in, studying the mechanics of the modern day gay content industry. “Some creators are very lucky,” he says. “They’re just hot, and it’s good enough. But in my case, it wasn’t good enough.” Rather than monetizing on looks alone, Bezrukavenko is more interested in building a community and sustainable business model based on looking at how we’ve evolved as digital-obsessed human beings. Every Sunday at 4 PM, he hosts a live stream on his YouTube channel where loyal fans tune in as he just talks about his life. “I don’t have family here,” he says. “I moved here by myself. So I feel like I have a family on YouTube. Like, if something happens, I know I’ll be fine.”

He even has an AI brother. Having come up with the idea after he utilized his OnlyFans expertise to help a creator grow from making $500 a month to more than $10,000 a month, Art created Alex Silver as an extension of the “social experiment” content he was already creating. Since his inception, the AI brother has moved to Miami, gone to a foam party, started a job in construction and even come out as gay. Eventually, Bezrukavenko wants Alex to have a fully AI-powered OnlyFans page. “I’ve been traveling so much to make content that I was just like, damn, I wish I could have someone who would travel for me,” he says.

It’s also a way to stay ahead of the curve. Bezrukavenko believes that in five to ten years, every company will have completely shifted to AI business models. And with many new YouTubers seeing the success of Bezrukavenko’s genre of content and creating similar interview-style videos, Art is constantly looking for ways to keep things fresh and of the future. “A lot of people will steal from me and go viral, but my biggest competition is me,” he says. Right now, Bezrukavenko is focused on pumping out high volumes of content, but the ultimate end goal is to create a gay tech app or online community fully powered by AI.

Gay content on YouTube is nothing new. In fact, for me personally, watching coming out stories as a kid in the early days of YouTube helped me understand myself and come to terms with my own sexuality. Bezrukavenko’s newfound popularity on the platform is arguably just the latest iteration of that content for this generation of closeted or questioning viewers, and it’s largely due to Bezrukavenko himself. There’s a friendliness and approachability to him that makes him the perfect vessel to tell these stories, and he’s in turn invented a new line of work amidst the wild OnlyFans boom of the past four or so years.

As far as the biggest lesson he’s learned from being so immersed in this world of gay content creation, Bezrukavenko says it’s all about authenticity. “I’ve seen people who have never done anything, showed the bare minimum, and made $100,000 per month. And I’ve seen people who show everything and make $10,000 per month.” According to Bezrukavenko, you can just be hot and show your dick for some easy money and quick clicks, but that won’t necessarily amount to longevity in today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape.

“It doesn’t matter what you show,” he says. “It matters who you are.”

Photos courtesy of Artiomboy / YouTube