Ukrainian immigrant Artiomboy becomes viral sensation providing a voice to LGBTQ community

Fri. September 15, 2023 2:36 PM by Ross Forman

art bezrukavenko

photo credit // provided

'I want (my videos) to be a space for gay men and for transwomen, too, where we talk about various topics,' says Art Bezrukavenko

Art Bezrukavenko has been on an incredible 6-year journey that seems destined for Hollywood. He was born and raised in the Ukraine, where he lived a lower-middle class life with his mom and grandparents, and while in high school was active in dancing, journalism, acting, and writing.

He left Ukraine for Poland at age 17, where he continued his education and simultaneously working multiple jobs to survive. Poland was the first step toward a better life for Bezrukavenko, who knew that Ukraine was not the best place for a gay man, even though he was in the closet at the time and knowing that a war was being fought some 80 miles away. The trek to Poland was risky, to say the least. His mom had to borrow money from her friends and he left Ukraine with only three months allowance. He was in Poland, alone and didn’t know Polish too well, yet was attending the Warsaw Management University.

Bezrukavenko spent three years in Poland, working months without a day off. He was expelled from the university, then let back in. His jobs ranged from giving away flyers to receptionist, sales associate, manager, and more.

In mid-2017, Bezrukavenko moved to America, landing a job selling kites at an East Coast kite shop even before stepping on U.S. soil. He learned how to write a resume for a job in the U.S. from an online search – and it worked. That remains one of the biggest achievements of his life, he says with pride.

He moved to America with $500.

Bezrukavenko found housing and paid $300 for his first three weeks of housing in the U.S. He knew he had a job and would be earning money, so he was fearless and focused on succeeding, even if he didn’t have high-paying jobs.

Bezrukavenko eventually moved to New York City – for one night. He hated it and left.

His next stop: Chicago.

He lived in Ukrainian Village and had numerous jobs, primarily in the service industry. He also completed his paperwork to remain in America as an immigrant.

After two years in Chicago, he took his American Dream to, where else, Hollywood. “I believed that was where I wanted to be,” he said.

The dream, though, didn’t work out and Bezrukavenko ultimately moved back to Chicago, this time living in Boystown. He still wasn’t out but had gone on same-sex dates and worked as a stripper in Los Angeles.

Bezrukavenko worked in multiple restaurants in Chicago and then, in 2020, moved to Austin, Texas, when he landed a call center job that ultimately was “the worst job in my life,” he said.

In October 2020, Bezrukavenko told his mom for the second time that he was gay – and this time she believed him. He continued coming-out to close friends over the next month or so. He also then started a YouTube channel in Polish about life in America – and he soon had 3,000 subscribers some of whom, no doubt, speculated that he was gay, but Bezrukavenko still wasn’t out.

In November 2020, Bezrukavenko moved into the TikTok universe, often lip-syncing and delivering comedy.

He was ready to come out – and social media was the perfect path.

He filmed a video, shirtless on a cold night in Austin, with the Pride flag wrapped around his shoulders, as he walked and danced in front of a Bank of America.

He posted that video at 11 a.m. on Christmas morning 2020.

“I didn’t say I was coming out; it was just my coming-out video,” he said.

The video went viral almost immediately, drawing millions of views and bringing Bezrukavenko more than 100,000 followers.

It was his Christmas miracle, without question.

“Back then, I had no knowledge that the video would go viral. I was just doing it to be fun,” he said. “Sure, I wanted it to go viral, but wasn’t expecting it to go to that level.

“It was a life-changing experience. My whole life changed from that video.”

He continues to be a social media sensation with outlets, ugh, everywhere – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Telegram, Pinterest, Only Fans, and more.

He has countless followers worldwide, with videos attracting more than 70 million views.

“My goal is to make videos (that are) stupid and funny, and also some with serious (topics),” he said. “It takes a lot more thought than people think to figure out what people will want to watch for 30 seconds.

“I want (my videos) to be a space for gay men and for transwomen, too, where we talk about various topics – for sexual preferences to voting to HIV/AIDS.

“The purpose is to provide entertainment, give the voice to regular people.”

Case in point, Chicago’s Northalsted Market Days 2023. Bezrukavenko was back in town for the mid-August street festival – and was filming aplenty, at multiple stops on his whirlwind adventure through the Windy City.

“It was great. I really like the community scene, especially how many people come to Market Days from all over the U.S. It’s wild that they close the streets for two days so people can just enjoy themselves,” said Bezrukavenko, who didn’t attend any official Market Days parties, but did visit Sidetrack and Roscoe’s among other clubs, and he also was Speedo-wearing at Hollywood Beach.

In fact, he interviewed porn star Joey Mills for about 4 minutes in Chicago.

Mostly, though, Bezrukavenko talks to regular people, such as one gay man who told Bezrukavenko about his experiences at Steamworks. Another Chicago video talks about open relationships.

Bezrukavenko scored at least 40 videos during Market Days.

“I think Chicago is great, nice and welcoming. It’s a good place,” he said. “I loved (living in) Boystown; it is a very vibrant community, very welcoming. There are not a lot of places in the U.S. like Boystown with so many LGBT people. I felt safe there and felt in my spot. It’s one of the best places to live.”

Now 26, Bezrukavenko lives in Manhattan with his boyfriend of two years, Johny, aka, Pumpkin.

“It’s been a wild journey since coming to the U.S. in 2017. I never had a choice for failure and through consistency, determination and just not giving up, I have survived,” he said. “Lot of times, you think you’re not going to make it, maybe because you have an accent, but you can; I proved it.

“I knew I wanted to do social media and YouTube for a long time, but I always was afraid, especially before coming-out. After coming-out, that’s when a lot of things changed.

“There have been a lot of sacrifices by a lot of people along my journey, but this is only the beginning.”

Bezrukavenko posts new videos almost daily, on multiple platforms. He even does cooking videos with his boyfriend.

“Our relationship is very boring, which is good. I wish I had some drama to tell you, which would be better for your article, but I don’t,” Bezrukavenko said. “I moved to New York (two years ago) and we found each other – and five days later we were monogamous.

“He’s American and completely opposite of me. He loves me for who I am, and I love him for who he is. He is from the suburbs of Boston; I am from Ukraine.

“But we have a good relationship; (it’s) a good dynamic.”

Bezrukavenko isn’t planning to pursue celebrity interviews, though he has produced videos with stars from Only Fans and elsewhere on social media.

“I’m trying to be relatable to every gay person,” he said.

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