The erotic art of Shunga is full of secrets and hidden meanings. I like to play with the imagination of the viewer. It also gives me satisfaction to hide the obvious in plain view. Like in “Sutra” which I created late 2015.
Erotic art can be so many things. Sweaty, lustful, horny or playful. It can be romantic, soulful and sometimes even melancholic. When I begin working on a new piece I rarely have little more than a tingle of anticipation and an eagerness to find out where my imagination will travel. Since an average shunga print takes at least fifty hours to design, this journey takes on many shades of desire as each layer is added to the original idea. There is the matter of my muse and also the sensation of taking a risk in exposing myself to the world. An artwork can end up completely different than first anticipated and this is a highly enjoyable path to travel.
In “Sutra” I play with the idea of physical as well as spiritual intimacy. I let a buddhist monk enter a tattooed woman somewhere in a bamboo grove beneath a large full moon. I know the persons in the scene intimately and experience their pleasurable moment in the Now as I am sketching, designing and painting. In the traditional Japanese erotic art of Shunga, the kiss is almost as rare as the anal penetration of the woman. For all its ingenuity in design Shunga is often surprisingly repetitive and conformist. This usually has very little to do with what is considered morals in the pseudo christian world of the west, but is a result of a completly different view of sex, as it is shaped by totally different cultural standards and ideals.
The cock entering the ass, a secret place where penetration is not considered “normal”, is for me a show of intimacy and trust. Only if both hearts are filled with burning and honest desire can the act be truly pleasurable for them both. It is a matter of invitation and receiving your lover very intimately. Almost like sharing a great secret. It can be a means of domination and surrender but it can also be a purely lustful game.
Neither monk nor woman can be considered automatically holy. What is holy comes from intentions and actions. In “Sutra” my lovers become holy as they melt together and let all ideas of “right” and “wrong” be cast aside and instead focus on what their hearts are whispering among the bamboo leaves rustled by the night wind. The moon lights up the grove and becomes an involuntary viewer of an unusual union of two souls. Sex and lust genitalized and commodified holds nothing to the fire of true intimacy. The heart has to be in it.
P.s For more on why I paint Shunga please go here
The Shunga print “Seduction” is one of my earlier prints. Creating the mood and space took much longer than I expected. Proof that every art work lives its own life.
Sometimes the human heart clings desperatly to the idea of closeness and intimacy. “Seduction” depicts this desperation and longing for love dressing it in the imaginary fabrics of a classical ghost story. The ghost of Japanese myth and folklore holds a special place in my artistic and romantic heart as the stories are often melancholic and breaths the air of strong human emotions. This particular scene is not based on a traditional Japanese ghost story but rather a figment of my own imagination.
In the abandoned old buddhist temple a young man has sought shelter for the night and fallen asleep on the worn and moldy tatami mats. Outside the darkened wooden walls, the night is black and velvety. Only the cikadas dare to make a sound. his tattooed body suggests that he is not of Samurai class but rather a ruffians or gambler. Perhaps an Otokodate traveling from one town to the next, exhausting hospitality through boasting and bullying, hustling and cheating.
She is trapped between heaven and hell, tethered to the temple grounds where her body was buried improperly and in haste after her shameful suicide. Her lover, who had sworn himself to her even in the death of their desperate suicide pact, had not followed her into the shadows. Afraid and trembling he had watched her slowly bleed to death from her self inflicted cuts across the her wrists, and the fled the scene, leaving her alone among the trees behind the old temple. Perhaps he cried for some time, but most likely he was strangely relieved that he was still alive. Perhaps her face passing into the dimness of silent death would haunt him momentarily during the remainder of his life but the memory of their young love would fade and wither until becoming just a faint whisper.
She had laid in the shadow of the cedars, bamboos and pines for little more than five days until she was found, all the while the family and friends searching for her would pass her by very close but never seem to divert their eyes in her direction. Sometimes the randomness of existence plays tricks on us like that. Finally some children exploring the shady wooded area behind the temple had found her and she had been buried to the scent of incense and sound of sobbing.
Now her ghost desperately crawls on top of the sleeping man, holding him so close, so very close…. straddling him and lowering her hips over his hard cock. She cannot remember desire, only this fear of being alone again. Her long disheveled hair floats around the dark room, slithering like snakes, every part of her ethereal being clinging on for a dear life she does not posess any longer. She is confused and lonely and afraid. She will never leave him. He will never wake up again and never leave her. The cikadas are to busy serenading to pay any attention to the two figures ghostly embrace and after her body was found behind the temple last spring not even the curious children come here to roam and explore. Summer, autumn and winter will pass and perhaps no one will ever come looking for him.
And she will never be alone again.
For more information on Shunga and other erotic things please see my links
The Shunga Kabuki print “Summer” is re-designed and released in a strictly limited edition of 15 copies in collaboration with Lan’s Gallery in Hong Kong.
Oban size (25,4 x 38 cm)
New Limited Edition of 15 prints.
Created June-August 2013
After successfully completing two Shunga prints showing vaginas (females) reflected in mirrors, I felt it was time for a portrait of an erect cock (male). There was a number of reasons for this being the third in the series. I have always had difficulties adapting to any type of norm or stereotype and when creating erotica or pornography I feel this is even more important.
The poem I have chosen for this print is written by Matsuo Bashō (1644 – 1694) and it reads;
fuji no kaze
ogi ni nosete
Translated into english it becomes;
A breeze from Fuji
transported on a fan – an
During the Edo period in Japan (1603-1868) the phenomenon of Kabuki theatre evolved to become the most highly celebrated form of entertainment for the commoners of Edo society. Kabuki plays did not only serve as a source of excitement, suspense, romance and adventure. It also boasted extravagant sets, lavish clothing and breathtaking effects. The actors were superstars and Ukiyo-e prints portraying scenes and their all male cast (by law women were prohibited to act in Kabuki). All the while many of you may have heard or read about Kabuki, maybe fewer of you know that some actors also doubled as prostitutes. Actors were solicited by men and women alike and as Edo society did not share the stigma cast upon homosexuality or same sex encounters as its western Christian counterparts did, this dressed my Shunga print in a most wonderful kimono of ambiguity. In my imagination the Edo souvenir brought home is the memory of a night of sexual passion with the actor reflected in the mirror.
The actor lustfully presenting his erect and hard cock in my print is Ishikawa Danjūrō in the role of Danshichi Kurobê. Who Is the person admiring and longing to touch and fondle this warm and bulging cock? Only you yourself can answer this question. This image has no heterosexual code attached to it. Everyone is invited to fantasize and take pleasure from it.
In the west we typically classify sexual and erotic encounters as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual etc. Is gender always equal to sexual desires? When I think about heterosexuality I don’t think first and foremost about fucking. I think about who attracts me. I think about love. Sex comes after that. Shouldn’t the same thinking apply to homosexuality? Normally, when these topics comes up people only talks about who fucks who. Emotions and matters of the heart are as always hopelessly absent. Does same sex encounters always mean homosexuality? How come it’s such a norm for heterosexual men to fantasize about watching two women having sex and why does this desire never include watching two men doing the same? Or does it?
I have found that most men stick to the safe cards when it comes to talking to both men and women about their innermost desires. Within the male hierarchy there is a tremendous fear of being judged as weak or different. So much better to be silent and just swim along with all the other fishes. Perhaps I am generalizing. In that case it’s a reaction to decades of being among men where almost no one dares not to be a “man”. If you would ask me about my sexual or rather emotional orientation, I would in lack of a better word call myself heterosexual. And yes, I have sometimes fantasized about sex with men.
In the gender stereotypical portrayal of us, everyone is a loser. Even the individuals and/or cultural structures that silently dictates for us what we are.
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Shunga Print “Autumn”. New and re-designed edition of 15 copies in collaboration with Lan’s Gallery in Hong Kong.
Oban size (25,4 x 38 cm)
New Limited Edition of 15 prints.
Created June-August 2013
This erotic print portrays a woman of maturity. To me this is a highly erotic scene and one of my personal favorites. She has a snake tattooed across her thighs in the traditional Japanese way (Irezumi) suggesting self reliance and a strong, calm personality. In the reflection of her mirror she poses without any shame. presenting you with an uncompromising yet relaxed view of her pussy. She tells me her stories with confidence, of knowing her heart’s desires and how she is no others property.
If you want to become close and enter her world you have to reveal your true heart and in doing so be prepared to share intimacy, not only of her bed but also of your true inner self. What you as a viewer give is what you will receive. This is a daunting task perhaps, nevertheless one full of treasure. Not only will you find sublime pleasure but the viewer will also her or him self. Only through undisclosed honesty and deep compassion will you taste her sweetness and experience true passion.
For this print I have chosen a Haiku poem by Masaoka Shiki.
Ki giku shira giku
hito moto wa aka mo
In english we can read these words,
Yellow mums, white mums –
as for me, I crave a red
In Edo period Shunga, the Kiku (chrysanthemum) is often used as a metaphor for the anus as a point of pleasurable penetration and stimulation. Though this flower is more commonly used as a reference to Nanshoku, same sex love in-between men, I have nevertheless chosen to use it in my Shunga print as a reference to anal pleasure in a heterosexual context. In consciously doing so I am in no way trying to label the woman in the Shunga print or any prospective viewer as hetero. Since my erotic work flows from my own personal imagination and erotic fantasies this is simply the way I was thinking at the tie of creating this image. You as a viewer are completely free to attach your own lustful fantasies to any of my works. So much better if you do!
As a victim of this fast spinning, media consuming digital world of today, human sexuality and eroticism has become sadly attached to the physical and the surface. Lust seems to belong to the young and the physically perfected. As if the Intimate is something that can be achieved through perfecting certain sexual skills and using almost theatrical performances mimicking the shallow nonsense presented as pornography on the glowing screens of an increasingly detached generation of human beings. If you search communities like Pinterest using the keyword “erotic” you will consequently be presented with a seemingly endless stream of images showing young women with “perfect” bodies posing for the eyes of men who do not dare to explore their deeper emotions.
Still I don’t want extend blame on individual human beings in this. They are all victims of being exposed to a dangerously streamlined ideal of sexuality and the human body. Furthermore, it is the culture of not questioning the gender structure in our societies and communities that is perhaps the largest single issue regarding this irritating status quo regarding sexuality and its portrayal. In conclusion; if you don’t know your true inner self, how can you claim to know anything at all?
One of the driving forces behind my artistic urge to create Shunga prints and erotica is the idea that I can perhaps change peoples perceptions regarding the sexual, the intimate, the lustful as well as themselves. I hope that I can continue to create art that will support this idea of grasping the heart and the human reality we seem to miss out on so much and in doing so I also hope to create images that are erotic, playful, horny and simply more compassionate pornographic.
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