Y’all know my Lego kink project is kind of satirical, yeah?
In all the assorted preparations for getting my work ready for SEAF (prints arrived last week, I’ll frame them after I vend in Tacoma in two weeks) and looking over the schedule (the artist’s “VIP” reception should be a hoot) there’s one event that leapt out at me as being particularly juicy.
The weekend before festival properly begins, there will be a chance for the artists to meet with the show’s docents. In this way, we can talk about our inspirations, share stories and other tidbits that could be useful in making a sale. Oh, yeah, and connecting the viewer with the art too. Whatever.
So I’m very curious to see what they make of my photos before I talk to them about it. Because there’s a lot going on here. And while the work is serious, I’m curious.
On the first level: this is Lego. And that’s silly and fun and unlikely and probably a big part of why my photos were accepted. They simply look different in a field of nude models and semi-abstract sculpture.
On the next level: I’m genuinely looking to make kink and fetish and sexiness look fun and even silly. To the point I’ll pull in dad jokes to serve my purpose:
A lot of what’s out there strikes me as grim and dark and, honestly, mean. It’s grim men in leather vests or strict women in severe corsets enacting impossible shibari in tricked out dungeons. And while there’s more to it than that, the image is prevalent enough that I think people find it off-putting.
And I know this because I faced it when I went out vending bondage rope at my last day job. Not all the time, of course, but for every buyer who knew that they wanted X length of Y color, there was someone who was intrigued by the idea bondage but not if it required converting their garage into a sex dungeon and buying fifteen pairs of leather pants. My job was as much about putting a human face on the product in jeans and a t-shirt instead of a reject from the Village People.
This is my attempt to make human art. Sweet. Loving, even if the scene itself is one that involves fifty feet of rope, a riding crop and a violet wand and looks to an outsider like an outtake from one of the Bourne films. Yes it can be lovingly brutal, yes it can be silly.
But deeper still? This is satire.
I went through one of the online festival catalogs and I swear that I saw this picture two or three times. Not exactly the same, of course, (and obviously no Lego was involved) but in the broad strokes there it was: woman, rope and engineering combined to make… this.
Is it still sexy the fifth time you’ve seen it? The tenth? If the only real difference between this image and the next is the knot work but otherwise she’s just bound like a side of beef?
Is it still “erotic” if we take the human model out and replace her with a RealDoll (the link is mostly safe for work, nothing super explicit but use your discretion)? Or a Lego minifig? Or…?
If the only difference between two images is that one features a brunette and the other a blonde…?
So yeah. My submissions are sincere. I’m not storming the barricades and throwing shit around like a bonobo at the zoo. But I am tweaking some noses here and there. I am trying to imbue plastic figures with more humanity than I see in most fetish photography. I’ve had friends compliment me for making the top image in this entry feel human. Gentle.
I’m looking forward to SEAF. I’m looking forward to that meeting. I’m looking forward to seeing if maybe, just maybe, I might change some minds.
At the very least, I’m hoping I can sell all these out.