Yes, we know, it’s been a never ending discussion about the fine line between pornography and art. But the third annual Grafuck edition is once again exploring this delicate intersection. For the third compilation, Californian-based Peter Vattanatham and Fiel Valdez let over sixty illustrators, photographers and graphic designers from across the globe share their most intimate visual thoughts and desires. Last Saturday PingMag went to the book launch party and opening of the Grafuck exhibition at Nucleus Gallery in Los Angeles and had an intimate chat with Peter and Fiel about their work of love.
First, where did you find all this erotica?
We received submissions from over 300 artists; some sent in more than one piece. Our selection process is simple: There’s no formula, we just pick whatever makes us laugh, stuns us with beauty or challenges us with wit.
And where did you get the idea for this compilation in the first place?
Grafuck comes out of our curiousity in the taboo surrounding the sexy or erotic, and our love for all the amazing and inspiring creative work we stumble across – the intersection of these two channels, so to speak. At the beginning, we wondered what would happen if artists had an uncensored outlet for this kind of work, especially people who don’t normally work with the subject matter.
Do you see any developments since the previous editions? Any new points of view on sexuality?
We’ve been surprised each year with truly original perspectives on the erotic. What different people around the globe find sexy is eternally fascinating! Mix that with humour and/or intellect and it just sends us over the edge.
Breasts all over by Vicente Montelongo, from the Grafuck 3 exhibition.
Can you see the contributors’ cultural backgrounds in their pieces? How different would an Asian artist’s point of view be from that of a Latino one?
We notice cultural background insofar as we get a lot of contributions from Europe – and not so many from Asia. This is a factor of many different things, but it is a curious thing to us. There are many common themes and perspectives across all of the cultures represented in the book; we don’t see any one culture standing out in this way.
So, has going through all these affected your views on cultural taboos?
It’s heightened our curiosity of them, especially the relationships within a culture of what’s taboo and what’s not.
Any submissions that were so absurd you just couldn’t publish them…?
We haven’t received anything that far out… yet.
It’s certainly fun to be invited to work on something outrageously unacceptable! But we wondered why there aren’t any words in the pieces – was that against the protocol?
Images are their own language. They are challenging. We love, love, love image!
We also noticed that in the artist list there is a balance between male and female. Can you make out any overall difference in the ideas and themes between them?
Admittedly, we are a bit blind to each contributor’s gender. Interestingly enough, we see a lot of work focused on female bodies from male and female artists alike.
Who did this amazing insert poster this year?
Los Angeles-based Audrey Kawasaki did this year’s centrefold. We were seduced by her work for the first time, years ago, in a small clothing shop – the name escapes our collective memory – next to the original Giant Robot store. Words fail us in describing how beautiful her work is.
Let’s get more general: Where does Grafuck belong – on a book shelf, a coffee table or in the bathroom?
Or else, does Grafuck inspire to make art or have sex?
Maybe sex and art are one and the same?
Now that Grafuck has become an art show at Nucelus Gallery, do you have any plans to expand it as a brand? Think of sex shop products, clothing, etc?
If we told you, we’d have to kill you.
JP Guiseppi’s lemon love, from the Grafuck exhibition.
Also from the Grafuck exhibition – Nei Caetano da Silva’s rocker. Yo!
Ah, okay. A practical question: Since it’s not for the underaged, where can we get Grafuck 3?
On nightstands. Hidden from the kids. Online and offline. We have a list of stockists on our website.
Lastly, as it’s approaching: What would be the ideal XXXmas present?
A copy of Grafuck 3, of course. The gift that keeps giving.
The Grafuck logo. Nice!
Haha! Thank you so much, Peter and Fiel, for your awesome Grafuck 3 edition! Folks, along with the book, don’t miss the exhibition running until December 30th.
Additional Exhibition in 2008:
Grafuck x Compound present Neulovers
Address: 107 NW 5th Avenue, Portland.
Date: January 3rd to 31st, 2008.