As a platform, #itchysilk aims to inform, and create discourse on areas deemed challenging or taboo.It is far from a discourse about right or wrong. Rather, presenting as many thoughts, and opinions to help the reader decide.
Isa Luzuriaga aka Erotica Plush, currently a 24-year-old freelance graphic artist is just such a reader. Erotica Plush was inspired (as a sixteen-year-old) by an interview we did with her fellow Filipino Darling Kink.
Emboldened by Darling Kink, Erotica Plush has gone on to present lust in all its graphic depictions with her illustrations inspired by hentai anime and Western culture. It is a far cry away from her conservative Catholic upbringing. Lust and sexual encounters outside of marriage are taboo and un-Godly should it veer away from its practical use of procreation.
On a more profound level, Erotica Plush’s illustrations are indicative of a cultural “crossroads” for Filipinos. They want a sexual revolution where positive attitudes to lust, sex, and same sex relationships are needed.
Catholics love lust too.
Tell us about how you got into art and how you then moved to NSFW?
I was lucky enough to be influenced by my grandparents and then my peers from high school to pursue art. Moving onto NSFW is a different story. It is out of my stubborn and unprejudiced curiosity that I was able to explore lust at such an early age. I was still in elementary school and enjoyed hentai. I would hide it from everyone especially, my relatives. After a while, I began developing a constant sense of appreciation in seeing how bodies intertwine through illustration. Or the depiction and expression of lust in characters- I have never seen it as taboo. Though I tried moving onto other subjects that could be illustrated since it’d be safer for my reputation, I’ve just recently took the courage to embrace this undying appreciation I have for lust.
I could only apologize to my parents in this part, and it is in no way, shape, or form their fault why I am the way I am.
Talk to us about the Philippine’s attitude to sex…is it more conservative, do you feel at odds with the work you do?
Still conservative but never at odds with illustrating sexually graphic concepts. If religious or traditionalist beliefs are strongly held onto, I don’t suppose there will be any major change with the attitude towards sex especially if it is often revered as the backbone of our culture here. It is noticeable people are discussing sex education and sex positivity. They are trying to break the stigma around it. For me I got a bit lucky. My years of expertise in being unremarkable, hidden, and quiet means few people know my love for erotica.
Talk to us about the Philippines and its own connection to sex and erotica explain?
There is a need to support sex education and break the stigma on sex regardless of gender and preference. HIV is epidemic here and the more it is regarded as immoral by conservatives, the more it will prevent those seeking medical help. It challenges also how sex education, (which is beneficial to begin with), would help those who want to engage in sexual activity to be safe. There is a need to oppose the fear and guilt and provide positive sexual knowledge.
Talk to us about your own erotic and sexual journey……. have you ever felt that it has been repressed/suppressed by your country and family values?
It has always been repressed by conservative values. It’s even harder having recognized that I’m the sort of person who doesn’t like conflict yet ironically, I love what everyone’s been dismissive of. Luckily, I could afford enough privacy despite being raised in a heavily Catholic background. I was able to explore sexuality until it led me to the right kinds of people who share the same sentiments as I do. There is encouragement without any reservations in what I do from the few people who are fully aware that I am sexually expressive in both words and deeds.
Your work is of course sexually graphic- including gay couples as well as straight couples-talk to us about the need to show the different sexual sides?
I relish (without denial) the raw lust people share. This is a way for me to reclaim a specific inclination I have for appreciating lust in all forms. I could have explored this side years ago were it not for the repercussions “as a Catholic girl.”
More and more I find it hard to understand people who see lust as negative. In this kind of environment, people are ashamed of lust. I would like to believe that my art is this pornographic take in reassuring how feeling lust isn’t something to be terrified of. Everyone is free to own the emotion when it arises, with whoever they may want to share this experience with.
Tell us about your work and the characters you use it’s seems like a mix of something like anime.
I owe it a lot to my relentless love for “hentai”– I suppose there is no better medium that has expressed lewdness and lust in such a profound, palpable, and comprehensive manner. At the same time, I’m such a sucker for human anatomy –brought about by watching pornography or staring at paintings from Classicism period. Everything I illustrate is essentially based on those two factors.
The characters were drawn out from characteristics I find to be sexy, like someone with long hair and cute face or someone who is both masculine yet feminine. I try to find a new depiction for “what” and “who” is sexy when I illustrate something new so, it always varies. Anything, even the simplest of characteristics, could be sexy when seen from a different view.
The characters in your work seem Western in their origin-discuss your choice of characters more.
I really love the observations you’ve been making about my illustrations because it is so spot-on. It is western in origin and it’s got to do with the type of shows, films, and books I consume for leisure. One minute you’ll see a vicar, the next you’ll probably see an actor from a series. The sexually graphic ones also took inspiration from western pornography. I still read and watch “hentai” which essentially defines how I illustrate but I am much more attracted and at home with aspects of Western culture.
We interviewed Darling Kink who you may know has she inspired you.
Definitely! I found out about her artworks when I was still roaming around the internet at 16. Ever since that, she has become a crucial factor that led me to where I am today. I’ve been such a fan of her until now that I keep coming back to her works and looking at them for long periods of time.
Funnily enough, her interview with Itchy Silk was one of the first few in-depth materials on her. I can still remember reading it back and forth in your website even after weeks had passed. It’s weird but I still tend to linger around her opinions like, literally opening a tab of her interviews then just leaving it there for days. I guess it’s a bizarre habit where I depend upon her creativity to fuel mine cause I tend to lose sight of what I am doing. Strictly speaking in less than 5 words: I idolize her.
Anything you want to add?
I just find it amusing how Itchy Silk is interviewing me when back then, I lurked around their articles on sexuality and gender for inspiration. It could be said that they also factored as an influence – and a good one – for me to explore erotica further.