Seeing life through the lens of a pin-up artist
Welcome to my blog. Let me share with you the how and the why I like to draw sexy images for a living.
Ok, as a person that not only works drawing sexy female images, but loves doing so, I can tell you that there is an underlying notion about my artwork: that it is sexist and even degrading to women in general. Of course, I don't mean that everybody has this kind of opinion. In fact, I cannot complain about all the support that I have received towards my work over the years. From people close to me, like family and friends, to those that only know me from what I do, the response has been better than I could ever ask.
But, for the effect of this blog entrance, I will be referring to the people that dislike or even disdain my artwork and what it means. My close personal experiences in this aspect have not been many, but I in fact have seen the reactions that my work creates on some people. The typical reaction is to look away, cover their eyes (or the eyes of the person next to them), walk/run away from my table or booth, etc. I have been approached by people that told me that what I do is either degrading... or even satanic (yep, I have been told that too). Now, let me make this clear: am I making fun of these persons? Do I hate them for not liking my work? No and definitely no. I think we are all entitled to an opinion, that's what makes the world so diverse. It is how we express our differences what I think it makes indeed a difference.
When I have spoken to people that criticized the nature of work, it usually has been in a very civil and respectful manner, from both sides. One of the conversations I remember the most, was one that took place years ago, while I was standing at my booth, in one of the local street shows in Las Vegas. When this person started asking me about my work, they were the regular questions that I get when I meet with people in person (how did you start? why do you like to draw this or that? how long have you been doing this? etc.). However, I realized the conversation was going to take a different turn when she asked me if I considered my work offensive to women in general. I won't go into details about the conversation (and trust me, it was a pleasant one), but this person expressed that my artwork had a message above all: women are sexual objects. As I said, I won't go into details, because it would be too long to write here... plus, honestly, it was many years ago, it's not like I remember every single detail of it. However, there's something I remember clearly: what my first answer was right after her first question.
So, what did I say? What was my answer? I responded what reflected my thoughts back then... which is the same thoughts I have up to this day. Everything that I do when it comes to my artwork, it is not done with the intention of being disrespectful... but it does try to be funny, humorous. Anybody who knows me personally, can see the contrast of how serious I take my artwork and at the same time how much I make fun of it. This attitude permeates to my work: I am obsessive when it comes to details, forms, etc., but really loose and informal when it comes to my approaching to its themes. That's why you can see a lot of my artwork featuring sexy rendered girls in ridiculous situations or accompanied by ridiculous props and/or beings.
Then... is my work sexist? Of course it is... to some people. That will never change. But, do I believe that my work is sexist (or even misogynist) in nature, or worse, that is universally sexist? Of course not. Most of my work sets the female character as the dominant one, the one in charge. It is worth to mention the fact that more than half of the people that approaches my table or booth at a show, are women indeed. Some of them with their entire family along with them. They get a good laugh, a spark in their eyes and they buy artwork that they really liked. Is my artwork for all women? Not in a million years. But that is why I don't believe that my artwork is sexist... and at the same time it is. It is all in the eyes of the beholder. I don't do artwork to please everybody... or anybody. I do it because I believe in what I do. It doesn't matter who you are, you won't agree with everything, and I mean everything any other person int he world has to say.
Take this example: I am in pro of legalizing marijuana. Do I think marijuana is good? Not in every aspect. But I know that alcohol is not good either, in certain circumstances can be actually worse. Same as marijuana is good in many aspects. So, why is alcohol legal and even celebrated, while marijuana gets the reputation of being used just by junkies, "pot heads", etc. I won't go into a debate of why one is better than the other, this is not the place, and not my battle either. Just wanted to point out how at the end, it all depends on how we see things. By the way, I don't drink alcohol nor I smoke, not even tobacco. However, that doesn't mean that I disdain either one of them. And that is why I know that many people may not understand my artwork, may not be their favorite subject, but still respect what I do and support it.
I try to do work that I like and that I also believe in. I have done commission art in the past, that might seem demeaning to women. Some of it I understood, some of it I didn't, I just drew it and tried to express what the client wanted. We all learn from experience and draw a line that we don't want to cross again. I, so far, have been ok with everything that I have drawn in my life, and I try to keep things that way. At the end of the day, I am the guy that has a lot of fun with his artwork and the people involved in it. Doing things like taking photos with porn star friends, resting my head in their boobs (or next to their butts as you can see in my blog photo), is just a taste of how I reflect what my artwork expresses. To many people, doing things like that is unacceptable, vulgar, unprofessional, etc. Me? I am just having a good time with the people that make my work possible... and making sure they have fun as well. Again: everything is in the eye of the beholder. Keep having fun... I know I will. See you next time!