darlingkink is a 28-year-old visual artist, graphic designer and social activist.
We first became interested in darlingkink when she liked an interview we did with the awesome photographer Aizawa. It was darlingkink's graphic (for some) and beautifully drawn images of ‘sexual freedom' that caught our attention. From cunnilingus, to fellatio to lust and all in between it is darlingkink's fearless exploration that is magnetic. But to reduce her work to mere drawings of sex would be a crude analysis-it is far more than that. darlingkink questions ‘us'. She asks us to investigate our social fabric and attitudes regarding sex but also asks us to question a ‘system' which seeks to control an act that should be enjoyed between consenting adults.
Talk to us about a young ‘you' and how those formative years had an impact on your chosen journey?
My household was somewhat religious, although not strict. The Philippines is a deeply Christian country with a majority Catholic population. I guess that played a big part in choosing erotica as the focus of my art. However, I've been exposed to art at a very young age. Importantly I was never discouraged to pursue it.
In terms of art talk to us about that journey and how you eventually came to love art?
I've been interested in the arts ever since I was young-my relatives were in the field. One uncle introduced me to figure drawing at a fairly young age, so I've had this sort of obsession with the human figure and its proper proportions early on. An interest in the beauty of the female form has always been present as well. In college that the interest saw fruition and development. There I was exposed to a variety of influences but more importantly, the school ingrained in me the beauty and the significance of the freedom of expression. Drawing allows me to recreate the beauty that I see, that I experience, and to give birth to new things, too.
Freedom of expression in any way (whether political, social or otherwise) allows for more discussion, development and progress.
Is darlingkink your alter ego-explain who she is and what she represents?
I don't see darlingkink as an alter ego, it's more of an extension of myself both as an artist and as a woman. It allows me space not many women (or Filipino women for that matter) are afforded. I have space to express my sexuality, my fantasies and my desires. darlingkink allows me to reclaim these things, and to be free from both external and internal oppressions that I have lived with and continue to live with.
Talk about the inspirations behind your erotic drawings?
I guess my process is a go-with-the-flow approach-I think of scenes that depict certain themes (love, desperation, lust, loss, romanticism), and isolate these images from those scenes. I also exercise how well I can remember and recreate the human bodies in the poses I draw without the aid of references. It's interesting when people ask if the things I draw happened to me in real life, to which I always respond vaguely. It appeals to me the idea of teasing people's imaginations but mostly, out of all the things I want my art to do, it's to open discussions about sex and the things that come along with it in a positive light.
There seems an element of simplicity in the erotic works can you discuss that a bit more?
I like to put the focus on the actors in the scene (or maybe I'm just too lazy to draw backgrounds) but I guess, there's always this intense emotion beyond the raw depiction of the sexual acts that I always want to convey in my works.
From a female perspective what does sexuality, pornography and eroticism mean to you-how do you depict that in the work you create?
My work allows me to own my sexuality and my desires. It allows me to express my fantasies and experiences in a healthy manner. To create a space for people to discuss and challenge many outdated beliefs. Themes of eroticism, pornography and sexuality that define my work are in many ways a protest against the forms of oppression I experience and will probably continue to experience as a woman. I want to express to viewers of my work that there is nothing wrong with feelings of desire. There is nothing wrong with the act of sex if it is done safely, and nobody's getting violated and hurt.
Is sexuality and the exploration of it still taboo (is that even more relevant in your home country)-indeed why should we be more sexually free and ready to explore that sexual freedom
Many LGBTQ+ individuals struggle with the mere act of proclaiming their respective sexualities, and I consider myself lucky for not being as suppressed. Being cisgender allows me more freedom. I have more political, economic, personal and social opportunities than my LGBTQ+ counterparts, and things aren't getting any better being in a deeply Christian country. I'm only able to explore my sexual freedom because of my background, because I was fortunate enough to be educated, because of the people I became connected to. A lot of it was luck, I suppose. Suppression is never the answer. Freedom of expression in any way (whether political, social or otherwise) allows for more discussion, development and progress.
Talk about Linya Erotika how does it fit into this whole exploration of erotica?
Linya Erotika published by PageJump Media is an adult-themed coloring book by local artists. Together with Isobel Francisco and Tokwa Peñaflorida. We created a coloring book that would allow people to explore themes of erotica and sexuality while enjoying and exploring our art. We regularly hold coloring sessions where participants are allowed a safe space to discuss a broad spectrum of topics regarding sex and art.
Pushing boundaries-how far you are willing to go in your work and is it important to push boundaries to the point that people may become upset?
I aim to challenge outdated, unfounded belief systems that aim to oppress minorities. People will be upset with that approach. I've experienced that many times, and I always ask why certain things affect certain people. It's important to discuss and hear the other side-nothing falls without shaking the tree, right?
Lastly what does activism and standing up against injustice mean to you-what angers you now?
The country's current political situation angers me now! The current president is a tyrant, and as of this moment the Philippine's war on drugs has claimed thousands of lives.