Saturday, May 21, 2005

Expanding the art of expansion

It occurs to me that much of the artwork in our community is stylistically similar. It makes sense, because the vast majority of it has a specific purpose: wanking material. As a result you get images of women who are struggling for control at the point of explosion, or presentation/beauty/cheesecake shots of exaggerated curves, sort of like inflatable versions of Playboy model shoots.

Now, there's nothin' wrong with either one--I have an embarassingly large collection of these types of images--but I'm a little surprised that so few artists have explored other styles. Several have gone the comic book route and created multi-image storylines, but what about less literal interpretations? Abstract images. Close-ups on stitches ripping around cleavage. Maybe not giving the viewer the full image, so they have something to play with mentally, something to interpret. Or maybe even an image that's drawn as a commentary on inflation itself--the state of the community, the nature of the attraction, the feelings that come from being in an erotic fringe group.

While the cartoonish art that is the current standard can be quite good, it strikes me that a lot of the art is not really taking advantage of the power of visual art. Take a look at any museum to see the wide range of artistic expression that exists outside of our realm.

I think one of the influencing factors here is that the bulk of the inflation art community is young and endures a high turnover. It seems like the prime time to draw dirty pictures is in and around puberty; high school and college let you indulge your sexual fantasies by doodling in your free time (hey, that's when I started writing my stories). When you get a girlfriend or move on to the "real world," you tend to leave your youthful pasttimes behind, whether by choice or circumstance. The result is a constantly changing pool of artists without much stylistic experience outside those absorbed for entertainment. That means you wind up seeing a lot of anime-influenced work, because that's what the community's artists watch on Cartoon Network. Alas, until Renoir or Warhol or Magritte gets a TV show at 3:00 in the afternoon, we're going to be treated to endless interpretations of Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi, with an accent on the puffy.

Can we move beyond this trend of seeing the same poses with new anime characters? Maybe, if people want it. I have seen some artists begin to challenge these norms a little, and that's exciting to me. However, the community has always dictated "good" art from "bad" art and frankly, it's hard to see the non-wanking stuff winning out. Truth be told, I don't really want the wanking stuff to go away; I'd just like to believe that this community can evolve and incorporate multiple styles of art on the same topic.

Also, I have to acknowledge that a museum represents hundreds of years of work and change and inspiration, so maybe our collective output suggests that we're only just beginning.

1 comment:

Toymaker said...


I had your old site in my Favorites once upon a time, and I stumbled across it while cleaning up my drive, discovered you had a blog, and here I am.

Anyhoo, to get back on topic:

I'm not entirely sure that the genre lends itself to embracing other artistic styles- while the subtlety that you mentioned would be a welcome change, I don't really know if it would 'read' well.

As a (very) sporadic contibutor/member to/of the community, I've done and harvested my share of the "imminent explosion" and "super cheesecake" pictures, but until now, I've never really thought of anything else being done. IMHO, it's a pretty straightforward fetish, either the bra has 6 letters in the cup size or it doesn't.

Admittedly, I've done very little dabbling in erotic fringes aside from this, and the only one that I know of that might come close to expressing some of the things you mentioned, (ie: the "commentary on inflation itself") would be furdom, but that's such a broad range of interpretations that it's hardly fair to comapre the two, even though there's a lot of common ground.

So at any rate, yeah. The museum comparison is kinda odd, considering that the multitudinous forms of expression found in an art museum are on nearly as many different subjects- it would be interesting to see Pollock or Warhol illustrate a garden-variety BE wishes story, instead of thier ususal fare.

I think that the "same poses with new anime characters" is at least in part a result of the medium that this sort of material is readily available (the Internet), and the one where a lot of people unwittingly come into contact with it (TV and other media).

But that doesn't mean that Mai Shiranui needs to be blown up to 4 times her size for the umpteenth time, either.

And like you said, the community will set the pace, and it *is* still fairly young- There's a good number of artistic movements that are still older than the 'Net, and I'm assuming that the community didn't spring fully formed from Al Gore's head. I think that there's hope for a wider range of expression, but honestly, I don't think that I'll be one of the ones to usher it in.