Warning: This post contains NSFW descriptions, artwork, and links. Be careful!
“Rule #34: There is porn of it. No exceptions.” For years, this has been a guiding principle of the Internet. No matter how weird, strange, or obscure, someone has probably made a pornographic take on whatever you’re thinking of. (Even Microsoft Word’s Clippy.) But when erotic artist Khexxi, who asked to keep their real-name private, went poking around about Fortnite, the shooting sensation currently the rage among kids, rule #34 didn’t seem to apply.
“To my surprise there was barely any pornographic art related to the game,” Khexxi told me recently. “I looked at some in-game models and found some of them to be quite attractive, so I decided to do couple little drawings almost as a joke and just to see what the reception would be like. People responded well and I got plenty of requests to draw more of the game.”
The Fortnite requests started coming in—Khexxi draws for fun and accepts commissions from people willing to pay a little money—so Khexxi kept drawing more Fortnite characters.
Epic Games, you may not be shocked to hear, declined to comment on this story.
Despite the existence of rule #34, even I was taken aback by the existence of Fortnite porn. The game has a loose premise, with 98% of the world’s population suddenly vanishing as a storm with monsters rolls in, but there are no fleshed out characters, let alone stories. The game assigns names to some of the playable classes in the game’s PvE mode, Save the World, but in the game’s incredibly popular Battle Royale mode, you’re randomly assigned an avatar to run around as. There’s precious little for people to grasp onto, yet some did.
/fortnitegonewild/, a subreddit dedicated to this particular corner of fandom and the place where I stumbled upon the work of Khexxi and others, was created on a lark, after one Fortnite fan joked about creating a pace where people could celebrate “NSFW fortnite.”
“I’m the one who jokingly said we should make one and then I was offered a mod position,” said Michael “A_lot_of_arachnids” John, one of several mods for /fortnitegonewild/. “I really didn’t think it was going to take off but it did.”
(I was genuinely surprised John let me use his name. “I’ve got nothing to hide,” he joked.)
It’s not an active subreddit, largely because there’s not much that could be submitted, but that makes John’s job easier. Though admittedly “not into that kinda stuff,” he’s happy to help guide people towards the best of this particular niche. Because it’s such a small community, John lets most relevant submissions to remain, even if they’re from clearly amateur artists.
“I get to show a side of a character that you'd otherwise not see and there's something strangely satisfying about that. It's just my interpretation and my ideas, but in a way drawing them makes them more real."
Khexxi is one of those amateurs, albeit a very talented one. Unlike John, Khexxi was reluctant to share much about themselves, outside of noting English wasn’t their first language, they’re currently in their early 20s, and are preparing a return to school.
“A lot of people do seem to look down on pornographic art and, as an extension, the people who create it,” he said. “Not just people on the outside, but I've come across other artists who think art being erotic makes it somehow inferior. Personally, I'm not ashamed of what I do, but I understand that most people do not feel the way I do and that most certainly does feed into my desire to remain anonymous.”
Khexxi has long enjoyed art—and especially erotic art—from a distance, but it was only two years ago he decided to start drawing. Eventually, he began publishing work on the Internet, a way to track his progress, remained motivated, and possibly find a following for his work. All three have come to fruition, with Khexxi regularly receiving commissions from fans, and his creations being shared hundreds (and often thousands) of times on reddit and Tumblr.
He didn’t intend erotic art to be at the center of his work, but quickly found it liberating.
“I get to show a side of a character that you'd otherwise not see and there's something strangely satisfying about that,” he said. “It's just my interpretation and my ideas, but in a way drawing them makes them more real. For me, at least.”
Though Khexxi’s ideas my start as something personally arousing, that changes the moment it transitions from mind to pen. The process becomes technical enough that Khexxi finds it hard to even see his work as pornography, though he takes pride in turning other people on.
“The ideas come mostly from my imagination,” he said. “Some days I feel like drawing a certain type of character so I think of poses to fit them, sometimes I want to draw a certain body part or type and have to think of a character to fit that. It varies a lot. If nothing comes to mind then I can always just look at some porn for inspiration.”
A recent Forntite drawing was spurred by a desire to draw a dark-skinned character, and accidentally stumbling upon the game’s Easter-themed costumes. After coming up with and an angle and perspective for the piece, Khexxi made sure to keep the ears and tale in frame.
And Fortnite is just one worlds Khexxi has pulled from. The top of his blog, for example, features 9S from Nier: Automata. (There’s a lot of 9S and 2B erotica on his blog.) He’s also drawn characters from Overwatch, Devil May Cry, and Pokemon. (People, not the pokemon.)
Khexxi’s first Fortnite drawing, depicting one of the women characters giving a blowjob to an off-screen male character, came with a teasing taunt attached: “How come there’s barely any Fortnite stuff out there?” Pretty quickly, his fans responded, and Fortnite requests came in.
“Having characters with no defined personalities, sexualities, etc. can be great because it gives me a lot of freedom as an artist,” he said. “but at the same time it can be difficult to choose what to do when you have so many options. Mostly it's a good thing, though. There are plenty of times when I get an idea for a pose for example, but can't think of a character that'd fit. That's when blank characters, like those from Fortnite, come in handy.”
After a handful of Fortnite drawings, he wanted a break. That break lasted two weeks.
All of Khexxi’s Fortnite-related work—and most of his work, really—depicts women giving, receiving, or participating in various sex acts. He estimates “maybe 10%” of his work includes men, though he argues some of his work involves people “something in-between.”
“I think they're split that way partly because it represents what I'm attracted to and partly because of the characters available to me,” he said.
For commissions, Khexxi has a list called “no can do,” which are things he won’t draw, including “children or childlike characters, scat, real people, backgrounds, guro/gore, anthros, anything extreme.” Part of the reason this list exists is because people will make requests from that pool. He still regularly gets asked to draw “that are clearly underage.”
This stands in contrast to some darker elements of erotic fandom, in which virtual characters are often raped and sexually assaulted. Kotaku’s Patricia Hernandez wrote an in-depth piece about this world a few years back: Trigger warning: her piece includes depictions of rape.
Khexxi’s work, on the other hand, does not. In his mind, the sex is consensual.
“It's not a rule I've consciously set for myself, but yes, I'd say so,” he said. “In the past, I've refused commissions where the theme has been ‘forced sex’ and I don't see myself ever being comfortable drawing anything non-consensual.”
Normally porn drives people towards tech. In this case, porn came to Fortnite, and it’s unsurprising artists like Khexxi, responding to the waves of pop culture as a way of raising interest in their work, would find themselves trying to wrap their heads (and dicks) around it.
But Fortnite is arguably the most popular game in town right now, and there’s no evidence it’s falling off anytime soon. It makes sense it would draw curiosity from all corners of the Internet, even ones that undercut the narrative that Fortnite is a game exclusively for kids. If anything, that’s part of the appeal. Something being for kids has never stopped porn before. Why would Fortnite be different?
Follow Patrick on Twitter. If you have a tip or a story idea, drop him an email: email@example.com.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/evqwp7/fortnite-erotic-art-fandom