A Look at Erotic Art: Weird Little Sex Creatures (NSFW)
Sarah B. Whalen insists that she's a prude. "I meet people and they think I'm some nymphomaniac," she says. "I think it's funny. I'm usually in bed by 10 and I sleep with a retainer in."
But it's not really hard to see why people might think that Whalen is more nympho than goody-good. Her sexual-themed ink drawings are graphic. Like, slippery blowjobs and sexual choking graphic. The overtly explicit subject matter sets the tone for each of her pieces, even though there is plenty of thought behind each. What they lack in shyness they are make up for in style -- they're economic; each line simple and deliberate.
Prude or not prude, she's a entertaining to be around. In person she is as open and uninhibited as her work. When she brings up shunga, a style of Japanese erotic art, and one of her personal favorites, she gets so excited that she almost starts shouting. "One of the most famous ones is a woman with her head back and there's a giant octopus that's eating her out. It's like, latched onto her vagina. It's so awesome!"
Her focus on nudes, givers-of-head, and double penetration, happened during her final years at Seattle's Cornish College of the Arts. Originally a photography major, Whalen shifted her attention to more sultry work after discovering various sources of inspiration such as shunga and mainstream porn. "When I was first making the work I was really interested in portraying human beings almost like monsters. I feel when you're having sex this part of you takes over. You come out of your body and you become this other thing, you become this weird little sex creature."
Out of all of Whalen's "weird little sex creatures," some of the most interesting are the women. Often they are shown having fingers being pushed into their mouths, on their knees in front of men, or performing fellatio. "In my work I feel like I focus more on the woman than I do on the man because that's my experience. A lot of times people will ask me, 'Are you objectifying women?'" But she doesn't see it that way. "It's my experience that I'm thinking about. I'm really selfish in that way that while I'm portraying these women I'm thinking about myself in these positions. I'm like, 'oh yeah, I like doing this,' or 'these are the things that I'm into sexually.'"
"I did this one piece with purple flowers, and I really hate the flowers, they fucking driving me crazy, but I love the blowjob part. It shows [the subjects] face and then there's this huge dick that's coming in from over here," she says as she mimes a penis deep-throating her from a strange angle. A nearby group of teenagers overhear us talking and start to stare. "There's a bunch of cum coming out of her mouth." (More miming) "I love it. I love giving head. I love being able to give someone that pleasure, I love the act of it, I feel sexy when I do it."
So, the eavesdropping teens are sold, but not everyone is.
"There are people that are so into it, and there are people that are like, 'Why would you do that?' Well, why would you go outside and paint a landscape? Because this is something that I find interesting. I think it opens up a dialogue with people that I'm interested in having. But really, why do people do anything? It's because they're interested in it."
"It's sex. It's fun, and I enjoy it. People enjoy it, and if you aren't enjoying it you're doing something wrong."
Sarah B. Whalen's lives and works in San Francisco. Her pieces can be viewed and purchased directly through her website, sarahbwhalen.com. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @sbwhalen.