Venus Libido’s illustrations show womanhood in all it’s gritty glory and wrestles with topics such as mental health and misogyny.
Current obsession: Plants, Netflix and Casisdead’s new song!
Favorite song of all time: Either TLC - Creep or Nelly - Ride With Me
Favorite alcohol: Whisky Sours
Bucket list: To meet Lee Evans in person
Collaborate with: Anyone who wants to collaborate with me basically. I'm so open to developing work in any direction possible.
A lot of your work portrays a more realistic, unromanticized experience of the female body. What are some of your inspirations?
My main inspirations around drawing the female body in an unromanticized way is really from looking at myself. I really enjoy food and alcohol and I spend all my money on it. I don’t strive to be something I’m not and I wouldn't draw any of my women in an unrealistic way. I was always a tomboy growing up and still much prefer the company of male friends.
But even my group of male friends inspire me a lot, we are always chatting about current problems facing millennials and things that bother us or happen to us or affect us. For me its about listening to other peoples experiences and not just my own and learning and growing from them. I’m also really inspired by older women within TV. Like I love watching Vera Farmiga in the Netflix series The Bates Motel. She's so fierce and doesn't take any shit. I love it. Oh and Grace and Frankie with their old lady dildos!
Yes, gotta love Grace and Frankie. What got you started on your illustrations and how did your style develop?
My art is a response to many things I have had to face or tackle as a women. I started Venus Libido at the start of 2017 after quitting my job because of sexual harassment. I really needed some form of expressing the shit I had put up with but I wanted to do it in a way that would help educate others and help others feel like they were not alone. Venus Libido was me finally using my voice and drawing the real problems I faced on a daily basis. I would draw from the darkness in my own life to help others feel better about theirs.
So would you say that some of the personal struggles you narrate through your work are also a commentary on more general struggles limited to a female experience?
I think that all the things I narrate through my work can relate to anyone. I had a conversation with my boyfriend the other day about how often men will stare at me from their cars while I'm stood by a bus stop. But then he said he had a woman staring at him on the tube and he also thinks she took a photo of him on the sly and he felt so uncomfortable. I don't believe that the problems we face as women don't also effect men. But we sure do have it a lot worse. We all know there is a long list of problems that affect women and not men.
Arguably the way in which female bodies have traditionally been heavily disciplined to conform to beauty standards set by mainstream culture is one of these problems. How do you see your illustrations commenting specifically on that, or are they?
A lot of comments I get about the way I draw my women from my followers is how happy they are to see a women with hairy arms or wrinkles or tummy fat. I think it’s so important to address the issue around beauty standards and how that affects the way we view or appreciate ourselves for us and not for someone else's benefit. If you enjoy make up cause it makes YOU feel good, wear it! If you like to work out cause if makes YOU feel good, do it! But never hate yourself because someone else doesn't like what you look like. What is important is that you like what you look like.
Most representations of female bodies that involve nudity are often considered sexualized. How do you think female artists are changing that?
I see so many amazing artists using their body as a means of expression and I’ve done it for years with my work and it has definitely made me more confident about my body. Women are still seen as an object for the male gaze but I think strong, empowering women are projecting the message that our bodies are ours and not a sexual object. I think that your body is yours and how you choose to show it or use it should be your decision and yours only.
Is the feedback to your work usually positive or negative?
Luckily I haven’t had any negative feedback yet. I will get the occasional guy asking me why I love dick so much. But they are just after a reaction and sadly for them I couldn't give two fucks what they think.
Speaking of dick, love the dick candles and necklaces you make. Is there a story there?
Yeah, I come from a sculptural background. I have a degree in fine art sculpture so I just needed something in my life that wasn't just 2D! Plus I like the idea of literally burning down the patriarchy.
Sweet. To conclude, any hopes or dreams for 2018?
I just want to continue making people laugh and feel good with my drawings! Hopefully I get to work with some amazing people. Finally, I want to curate my own show this year, hopefully in the summer.
Find Venus Libido on Instagram here and buy her prints and other products here.