That obviously still provokes. Storybook, they are not.
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Realities of the cruelty of life. O takes these cruelties and perverts them for her own edification. These are the power structures with which we define ourselves.
We all exist in bodies and it takes a lot of imagination to live and age and tell stories, at times believing them, order society with them, and ultimately vanish. Your depiction of bodies specifically female differs from classical romantic depictions of feminine figures. Could you talk a bit about that? I aim to show women as we are. Not as we are seen. How does your past experience with sexual harassment in the art world live within your work?
I focus on representations of strong women! More than 80 percent of women are sexually harassed—what do we do with this? I aim to show women who are powerful, in a variety of definitions of power. For Aury, there was power in consensual and desired subjection. And in domination. O played the spectrum of dominant and submissive in her youth and maturity. Drawing O allowed me similar role-playing.
Is O satisfied with the situations she manipulates? As much as there is movement and change in this book, as in life, satisfaction would be stasis. How would you say your work shows nuances or layers of sexual situations? I try to portray a spectrum of possibilities.
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All of the categories elide. This feels real. Messy, bodily, true. Your visual language includes ornate interiors, masks, makeup, bondage, and almost ghostly figures. Can you talk a little about how these motifs work? I want all of the figures, masked or not, to flicker in and out of reality.
I want there to be a dream-like nightmarish quality of a fever dream to the spaces that O inhabits. All of the guises and bondage and makeup and power are tools of transformation. Have you received any negative critiques of your work, perhaps from "traditional" feminists?
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Not outside of the initial dealer who cancelled my exhibition. Who are some of your favorite feminist artists right now? There are so many exceptional women and men making feminist art now! Name-calling is a really enjoyable part of kinky dirty talk , but in the era of MeToo it can feel very weird and even anti-feminist.
But calling her a slut when she asks you to is actually extremely feminist: She's vocalizing her desires, and you're following her rules. There's a big difference between consensual name-calling and malicious name-calling in, say, the workplace. In fact, I can assure you that they do not.
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Context is everything. Sometimes people just want some love and kinky sexual healing from their partner. Turned on? The MeToo movement has some men tripped up about sex and dating. Women have tried to make it clear that sexual assault is not sex, and sexual harassment is not flirting.
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We're not trying to malign sex. We still want to enjoy healthy partnerships and get laid. Healthy romantic and sexual relationships are consensual and they put all partners on an equal playing field, even if one of you is very rich and famous. Speaking specifically to kink, and even more specifically to name-calling in bed, what happens within a consensual relationship is incomparable to the heinous non-consensual treatment women experience in the workplace.