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Matt Myers, who creates art under the name Eronin, is the driving force behind Pop-Porn – a new show that will be presented in Brooklyn by the MF Gallery.

As well as work from Eronin, the show will also feature pieces from Fernando Carpaneda, Ellen Stagg, Martina Secondo Russo, and Anna Park – all exploring the theme of neo-pop erotica.

Fernando Carpaneda – Love God, Love Creation (image supplied)

I caught up with Matt Myers for a behind-the-scenes look at what we can expect from Pop-Porn.

When did you start to see your work as Pop-Porn or Neo-Pop Erotica?

I think it was around 2012 – I was appropriating images of Japanese porn stars directly from film stills I captured myself. The close-up view of faces in ecstasy gave me a revelation that they stood up to any Andy Warhol portrait of a movie star or celebrity.

I deliberately treated these images taken from a low-brow source as High Art, just as many of the original Pop Artists did with common everyday items.

It was at that time I made a Pop-Art connection, but I didn’t label it as Pop-Porn or Neo-Pop Erotica until a few years ago.

Matt Myers – Two Faces of a Woman 1 22×30 (image supplied)

How would you define or describe Pop-Porn or Neo-Pop Erotica?

Pop-Porn is the name I gave the show. It’s a simple, catchy, hyphenated name to bring two distinct cultural trends – Pop-Art and Porn, or Erotic art – into one realm.

I coined Neo-Pop Erotica as a movement by a wider range of erotic artists that use erotica in a Pop-Art style. Some artists working in this genre are well known and mainstream, like Ben Frost, John Currin, Mel Ramos, Lisa Yuskavage, and Thomas Ruff, while others are more or less on the fringe, like Delmas Howe, Victor Gadino, and John John Jesse.

Martina Russo Rosina Revelle 1 (image supplied)

You’ve invited four artists to present their work with you at this show – what are some of the threads that connect the work of the five of you?

I wanted to feature artists who use both explicit and implicit sexuality in their work, but not cookie-cutter images of penises and vaginas. I’ve been in many erotic shows in the US and early this year in London’s first erotic show, and I see a very low bar for inclusion.

I sought out artists who had very distinct styles and a great range from explicit to implicit.

Anna Park’s mysterious charcoals depict a hidden, dark sexuality – it’s more of a psychological erotica compared to Martina Secondo Russo’s Italian Bathing Beauties, that show a more visceral fleshy sensuality. Ellen Stagg forms a very close relationship with her models, many of whom are adult performers or fetish models, and it spills into her intimate depictions of them. Fernando is a veteran to erotic art, and finds very fascinating ways of combining his own punk counter-culture lifestyle with highly erotically charged art. My own work has close ties to Japanese Shunga from over a century ago, but is contemporary in my use of current Japanese porn stars.

While each of us work in very diverse styles, there is a common thread of being rooted in popular culture.

Anna Park – Offering (image supplied)

Is Pop-Porn the kind of work that is going to find a home on the wall of people’s homes? Or is there still an illicit edge to this style of art?

I think in the US especially, there is less tolerance for explicit art in the general public, in comparison to European, Latin, and Asian countries. Here in the US, sexuality is largely ignored and never emphasised in early education, condemned in religious and political circles, and rarely thought of as normal unless you pick up magazines promoting the fundamental joys of sex.

But there is a hardcore group of collectors who relish the open-minded free spirits of erotica and will buy it for their collections.

Fernando Carpaneda is widely sought after to collect his erotic sculptures and paintings, as well as Ellen Stagg for her mixed media and photography. My new watercolours will definitely raise some eye-brows because it crosses the barrier using more explicit sources.

Could these be hung prominently on the wall of people’s homes? Yes, to a small percentage of very dedicated erotica aficionados, but my goal in Pop-Porn is to raise erotic art up to a higher standard so it’s more acceptable.

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Matt Myers – Two Faces of a Woman 2 22×30 (image supplied)

How does Pop-Porn reflect the evolution of erotica and erotic art?

Just like Warhol, Wesselmann, Lichtenstein, Ramos, and Koons have drawn from everyday images from mass media and popular culture to create Pop-Art, Pop-Porn also draws from mass media, but from more provocative sources. It’s the goal of Pop-Porn to elevate what some consider as obscene, and transcend low-brow views of what is crude sexuality and what constitutes as valid art.

Titian, Klimpt, Courbet – some of the greatest masters of art – had to fight the social, political and religious doctrines that stifled the inherent beauty of eroticism. Pop-Porn is a platform that I hope will become a movement. I want to see it take off and become more of a trend in art, and just as acceptable as Pop-Art is to the general public.

Fernando Carpaneda – The Rebirth of Punk (image supplied)

What do you hope that people feel when looking at the collection of work presented at this exhibition?

I hope they will come with open minds and to open their minds. The owners of MF Gallery – Martina and Frank Russo – have long been defenders of counter-culture, therefore their patrons may already be wired to expect something unusual, but I’d like them to see and experience erotic art not as a novelty, but as part of a cultural movement. And, more importantly, an essential part of themselves.

Pop-Porn will show at the MF Gallery in Brookly, from 12 January – 17 February 2019

Fernando Carpaneda – Bacchus Anarchist (image supplied)
Anna Park – The Performer (image supplied)
Ellen Stagg Poloroid 11 (image supplied)
Fernando Carpaneda – Jose (image supplied)

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Artists

Erotic pop art gives us a new appreciation for Prince Harry

“Like Prozac for the soul…”

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Prince Harry by Mike Bliss
Prince Harry. 2018. (Mike Bliss)

I caught up with London-based artist Mike Bliss, who specialises in portraits and erotic pop art.

Me and Madonna (Mike Bliss)

Me and Madonna (Mike Bliss)

When did you start to explore your passion for art?

Its like breathing, I have very little choice. I finally accepted this was what I’m supposed to do about 16 years ago, and moved to London to see where it took me

How would you describe your style of art?

My art is 100 percent pure pop — like Prozac for the soul, or a really great Kylie Minogue track.

Madonnas (Mike Bliss)

Madonnas (Mike Bliss)

What are the subjects that most appeal to you?

I’m so lucky to be able to get excited by a whole wide range of subjects. The themes that are more frequent in my work are love, lust, religion, fame, sex, kinky sex, fetish wear, obsession, hate, and broken hearts. That’s the work I do for me — commissions are very different. I love that, it stretches me. Commissions make me a better artist

Is your target audience primarily gay men?

They are my audience and they are so amazing to me. The support I get from my gay buyers is outstanding! It wasn’t targeted though. My artwork is always informed by my life, so the gay community can relate easily to it. I’m sure the glitter and naked men can’t hurt. I have buyers in America that commission art regularly, but it’s not the gay themed work. They love my style, which easily translates to other subjects.

Your image of Prince Harry has always attracted a lot of attention?

I’m always amazed about the reach of that artwork. It continues to introduce my work to a wider audience. There are two new Harry artworks that I’ve done to celebrate his recent wedding. One is pretty dirty, it’s an idea I’ve had for months so I needed to get it out of my head. 

Prince Harry by Mike Bliss

Prince Harry (Mike Bliss)

What are some of the projects that you’re currently working on?

Since working with sheet metal while screen printing, I’ve been thinking a lot about ways to use metal in my work. I’ve started experimenting with Men’s jewellery. I like using words with a sexual context on chains. I’m basically trying to realise all the ideas that pass through my head.

What are some of the things that you’re currently getting excited about?

I’m really excited about working on and with new materials. I’ve always tied myself to canvas, but I’ve decided to liberate the work and experiment. I’m heading towards more 3D and sculpted work. That could change though.

What are some of the things that are currently making you angry?

Islamophobia, homophobia, antisemitism, racism, sexism, Brexit, all politicians, violence, bigotry, war, bullies, and religion.

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What are some of your priorities?

I haven’t done a one-man exhibition in London for ages, I’d like to get that organised as soon as possible. I also want to show in Berlin and New York. I’ve been asked to show in Paris, but the language barriers are proving challenging.

Follow Mike Bliss on Twitter

Crisco. 2018. (Mike Bliss)
The Winner Takes It All. 2017. (Mike Bliss)
Trinity (Mike Bliss)
Marlon Brando. 2018. (Mike Bliss)
Pop goes The Selfie (Mike Bliss)
Cunt. (Mike Bliss)
Marilyn Monroe. (Mike Bliss)
French Bulldog. 2018. (Mike Bliss)
Neon Joy (Mike Bliss)
Amy for Amber (Mike Bliss)
Rocky Horror (Mike Bliss)
Whatever happened to Baby Jane (Mike Bliss)
Jeff Stryker (Mike Bliss)
Übermensch The Man (Mike Bliss)
Madonnas (Mike Bliss)
Grrr (Mike Bliss)
Princess Diana (Mike Bliss)
The Leather Boy (Mike Bliss)
Leather. 2017. (Mike Bliss)
Take A Ride. 2017. (Mike Bliss)
Gun Oil. 2017. (Mike Bliss)
Ready Meal (Mike Bliss)
Prince Harry by Mike Bliss

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