Apollonia Saintclair explores pleasure, intimacy, and sexual expressivity through erotic illustrations. From tangled hair, to parted lips, to the minute contours of the erogenous body, her masterful line work captures desire in detail. Her illustrations go far beyond titillating us in the conventional sense, however; with writhing tentacles and zippers embedded in flesh, many of her images are simultaneously arousing and unsettling. By conflating eroticism with elements of horror and the grotesque, she reminds us that sex and death are familiar lovers, and that desire so often involves a daring venture across boundaries into darkness and radical difference.
For Saintclair, the artistic process begins in her own erotic imagination. “I work compulsively,” she explains. “I depict stories that I myself find very arousing, and I have a strong need to cast my fantasies in a beautiful frame.” Most of her works emerge from images “ingested once and digested over time”; when they finally manifest themselves on a blank page, she infuses them with her own observations and desires. She strongly values graphic quality, treating each drawing as “one more step in a long apprenticeship” towards technical perfection. Her fastidious control of her medium makes her work intimately precise — and subsequently, highly provocative.
The ability to share and connect with others through her work is very important to Saintclair, and she has garnered an impressive following on Tumblr. “The enthusiastic response from an unexpected, unhoped audience made me suddenly realize that I was maybe doing something important [for] others,” she writes. “I’m very pleased to see that most fans — among them many women — have absolutely no doubts that what I do is an artistic approach of sexuality and not blank pornography.” Her art is an intriguing journey into desire, and all curious readers are encouraged to visit her page and check out the rest of the images after the jump.