I have, over the years, come to terms with the fact that damnit, my calling in life is to paint small cute animals.
This was sometimes difficult for me, because I always clung to dreams of someday being a Real Artist, with…y’know…the seriousness and the artiness and whatnot. And I can occasionally manage something somber or cryptic or beautiful, and that’s fine. But left to my own devices, I default inevitably to small cute animals doing occasionally weird things, like Hallmark cards designed by an employee who knows they’re leaving at the end of the week and has already cashed the severance check.
Well. Such is life.
There’s a downside to this, however. And the downside is that I, like any red-blooded artist, occasionally get this twitch to do erotica, and when your basic visual metaphor is hamsters wearing fezzes…well… complications arise. I suspect the reason I get this twitch is often because of the terribly nice people who write to tell me about the childlike innocence of my work, a statement flattering and appreciated and I know very well meant, and which is unfortunately guaranteed to make me want to start painting strap-ons on every canvas in the house (or possibly dismembered somethings. Smoking cigarettes. Drinking tequila. Voting. Something unchildlike.)
T’other day, when I was at this peculiar party for Certain Adult Novelty Items, one of the items in question was the illustrated Kama Sutra, and I thought, as I always think when this volume crosses my consciousness, “Man, it’d be funny as hell to illustrate that with hamsters.”
It’s not that I find this neccessarily titillating–I am no more turned on by cartoon hamsters than anybody else. I think it’s that sex is funny and awkward and mildly embarassing and prone to horrible faux pas and really silly costumes and people taking themselves waaaay too seriously, and thus it would be exactly the sort of thing I’d paint, if it wasn’t so deeply taboo. Who can read about a sexual position called “The Milch Cow” and not snicker? I dearly love the phallic rock formations, they make me laugh like a loon when I paint, and people do respond wonderfully to then. I quite enjoyed my brief foray years ago into the world of cheesecake, but I suspect there’s a fundamental emotional difference between what’s basically Betty Page in a really convincing bunny suit and a small cartoonish hamster.
There’s a coupla basic problems with doing a cheesy hamster Kama Sutra. The first is that if you put cute and sex together, I suspect a lot of people get creeped out. I think a lot of it’s because cute is a sort of ingrained human response and it’s based on the visual cues you pick up from babies–big head in proportion to body, big eyes, high forehead, very rounded bodies, and so forth, and thus on some level cute reminds people of kids, and kids and sex together are major bad mojo, and rightly so. (Somehow anime manages to avoid much of this taboo, despite the “cute” design of a lot of characters. I don’t know quite how that works. On the other hand, after tentacle hentai, perhaps one is so jaded that one just shifts all one’s taboos over a bit.)
The other, and probably more major problem is that their little legs are way too short and you couldn’t get ’em into half the positions. I suppose I could do it with frogs. (The Rana Sutra?) Do frogs even have penises? I’m a little scared to Google and find out. I know snakes do, but…well, anyway.
I suppose primarily I worry that people wouldn’t understand what I was doing. In a weird way, furry porn is comprehensible to people, even if they’re not into it. It’s meant to be a turn-on. My work really isn’t. I have less than no interest in turning anybody on. Not My Thing. It’s the difference between a stripper humping a pole, and a stand-up comedian telling jokes about the time he dated a stripper.
Sooner or later I’ll probably break and do something in that vein, if just because I have to prove to myself that I don’t care what anybody thinks, I’m following my muse, damnit, like a real artist! Even if it’s with hamsters! Still, I bet Beatrix Potter never worried about stuff like this.
Edit: ‘Course, we all know the REAL reason I don’t paint porn is because I’d spend a month putting the last, hideous touches on my masterpiece of wickedness, stagger away from the computer to sleep the sleep of one exhausted by her own depravity, come back, and discover somebody’d left a comment saying “Hey, this reminds me of Labyrinth!”