Dangerous Compassions



Oh hey, I made this art that may be erotic.  You know me.  I like to make art on top of other art.  It feels way better that way.  So this was a postcard someone sent me last year that I never managed to toss.  The colors are so pretty, and I liked the reflective words.

So when I wanted to make some art the other day, this was a great place for my drawing to land.  I lament my messy desk often, but a good thing is how materials surface, like fossils.  This postcard surfaced right when I needed something for my drawing.


So here’s my question.  The breasts figure prominently.  Is it erotic?  What is erotic?  If it’s erotic, does that mean I’m supposed to treat it differently from other art?  If so, how?  Should I be embarrassed?  Should there be a warning?

Lots of art has naked people in it.  That new triptych I made has naked breasts also.  But it wasn’t really about the breasts.  This one is more about breasts, maybe.

I think it’s more than to arouse.  It has a feeling–the facial expression of the person, and her lack of hair.  And the interaction between the drawing and what the card has printed on it.  It’s more complicated than just erotic.

But I can be clueless about how other people understand what I make.  Sometimes I think something’s super likable and will be a hit.  Then it’s ignored.  Or I think something is terrible or boring, and people love it.  I try not to worry too much about that part, just make what I need to make, and release it like a bird.

library porn

There was a book I wanted to read, and I told my friend I hoped it was at the library.  My friend was like, “It’s porn, you know.”

The implication was that it would not be at the library.  I was like, “Yeah, well, you never know how someone classified it.  I could get lucky!”  But I never did find it at the library.

How I define it, porn is graphic, just to arouse, and usually not art–it’s without nuance.  Also it’s to make money and can involve exploitation.  I think of women paid poorly in porn, while men are calling the shots, maybe getting rich off it.  And the men might have their faces hidden so retain their anonymity.  The power is often messed up, in a misogynist way.

Erotica is usually less graphic, can be word-based, and more artful.  I think of it as less exploitative.  But that doesn’t have to be the case.  “Erotic art” can be just a nicer name for smut.

I had a friend who was a porn star, but he called his work erotic film.  Porn is automatically bad to a lot of people, while erotic is more vague.  So you can have more opportunities, if you call it by a blander name.

That friend I was charmed by, for a while.  I thought it was fun to be friends with a porn star.  Just because he was a porn star didn’t mean he was bad.  Then it turned out…he was bad.  Oops.


Here’s the new art I made in the context of the goddesses on the wall in our bedroom.


By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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