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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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“Scott” (2017). Graphite on paper. Sketched from a photograph by Mack Sturgis. By Nik

I love art, and everywhere I look, there is loads of talent. One day I came across Nik and his amazing drawings of hot sexy men. I was blown away by the level of detail and talent Nik puts into each drawing he does. I reached out to Nik for an interview and was honored that he accepted.

“Scott” (2017). Graphite on paper. Sketched from a photograph by Mack Sturgis. By Nik

Nik, can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m an early thirties guy from a small town in New Mexico. I grew up in a really conservative Christian family and because of this, I was pretty sheltered from things that our church found transgressive like homosexuality. I find it a little ironic that despite this upbringing, I’ve grown up to become a gay, atheist, artist that draws dicks and hairy bums as a hobby. I went to college to study biology and have worked in laboratories in both academia and industry. I now live in the Midwest with my handsome fiancé where I am finishing up the last year of my doctorate in Genetics.

“James” (2016). Graphite on paper. Sketched from a photograph by Jeremy Lucido. By Nik

When did you start drawing and when did you start drawing men?

I’ve been drawing and making art for as long as I can remember. My grandmother is an artist and I spent a lot of my childhood watching her paint and sculpt. She often involved me in her process and would have me knead her clay for the storyteller dolls she made. I’ve always been really close with her and I think that art is a major part of our connection. I was a very quiet and reserved kid, so I spent a lot of my time drawing and reading. My childhood sketches were mostly of dinosaurs and animals — a lot more innocent than what I work on now. The story behind how I started drawing men is a bit unusual. To make a very long story short, in 2012 I had a near-death experience and I am only alive today because a friend of mine was there to save my life. I couldn’t think of a gift grand enough to thank him so instead, I drew a hairy bubble butt on the front of a card and wrote on the inside “thanks for saving my ass”. That hairy booty was the first of what has now become many.

“Luis” (2016). Graphite on paper. Sketched from a photograph by Afif Kattan. By Nik

Is it easy to find men to draw? Where do you usually find your subjects?

I primarily use Instagram to find the men that I draw and using that platform, it has been really easy to find muses. I’ve met some wonderful guys on there that have gone on to become the inspiration for my work. People are surprisingly very open to baring it all for a sketch. I live in the middle of nowhere, so I often have to work from reference photos. It’s been really fun to work together with the guys to come up with poses for my sketches. There are also a ton of incredibly talented photographers I’ve met that are kind enough to allow me to work from their photos. I really enjoy the process of taking their images and reinterpreting them in my style. Lately, I’ve been trying to work on doing more art trades with other artists where we each will work on a portrait of the other. It’s been a lot of fun to have the tables turned and get to become the art.

“Jedi” (2017). Graphite on paper by Nik

What motivates you?

My motivation to draw men comes from a love of the male form and an appreciation of how beautiful I find body hair. Drawing has also become a major source of stress relief for me, so I’m often motivated to draw to give myself an emotional release. I find the process of drawing body hair to be incredibly relaxing and being creative allows me to use another part of my brain that I don’t get to use in my day job. I’m also motivated by other artists. I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of the queer art community on Instagram and every day I learn something new from these talented artists. Aside from a few classes I took in high school and college, I’m mostly self-taught so these other artists have become my teachers. They motivate me to try new things, take risks, and keep improving.

What is next on the horizon for Nik?

I hope to turn this hobby into a side business. This year I’m hoping to begin selling prints of my pieces and hopefully have my first art show. I also have some ideas for some pins based on some of my sketches which I’m hoping I can make and begin selling. I also want to start working with more color and incorporating other mediums into my work.

Nik, thank you for taking the time to share your life with me. If you want to keep up with Nik you can find him on Instagram as en.santi and his website ensanti.com.

Nik is has been a pleasure.

“Hole is where the art is” (2018). Graphite on paper by Nik
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