An African-American, Bilbrew met the bondage and fetish illustrator, Eric Stanton, while both were students at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. For much of his early career, he took freelance assignments within the African American community.
Around 1950, Bilbrew became an assistant to the hugely influential comics artist, Will Eisner on The Spirit. Bilbrew's later notability as a fetish artist came when Stanton introduced him to the fetish photographer, Irving Klaw and his Movie Star News/Nutrix company. He also had many illustrations published in Leonard Burtman’s Exotique magazine between 1956 and 1959, and in most of his magazines of the 1960s.
Bilbrew had a most unusual and a recognisable individual style which emerged from a more traditional genre of cartooning. Famous for dozens of paperback novel covers, he was an expert at depicting bondage, fetish, and FemDom themes in illustrations that accompanied stories and in his comics. His pictures show impressive skill in rendering lyrical feminine curves and depicting, in particular, the penumbras of gender transition.
While there are literally thousands of entries on Bilbrew and his work on the web, yet the "real" art world seems to know virtually nothing about him. This may be due to his "outside the norm" life and body of work, but it could just as easily be due to his race, or to the fact that virtually none of his original work survives.
Sadly, he died in 1974 of an overdose in a back living room of minor mobster Eddie Mishkin's bookstore on 42nd Street in Manhattan, his quirky talent depleted and devastated by heroin.