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BCGF: Art, Comics, Sexuality and Pornography

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WARNING: several links are NSFW. This will become abundantly clear.

Today was the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival held in, you guessed it, Williamsburg aka Hipster Central. Screenings, talks and exhibitions were dotted around the place but the bulk of it centred on two locations: a church on N 8th St and the Knitting Factory. (A place described by the ‘Not For Tourists Guide to Brooklyn’ as a “fifth-carbon of its former greatness.” Ouch.)

Set off early, brought sandwiches and a thermos of coffee and arrived in time for the 1.30pm talk: Art, Comics, Sexuality and Pornography. Karley Sciortino was the facilitator – she writes for Vice and has a blog called Slutever. Artists making up the panel were Nine Antico, Jonny Negron and Heather Benjamin. Sciortino had some pretty decent questions, but the discussion wasn’t as philosophical as I’d have liked – it stuck pretty closely to the artists’ inspirations and intentions. This fits with my general belief that artists, musicians, etc often make poor interviewees because they express themselves best through their chosen medium.

Antico was probably the most thoughtful speaker – her recent work Coney Island Baby covers the careers of Betty Page and Linda Lovelace, with Hugh Hefner as a narrator. She talked about how her work explores women who are ‘pioneers’ in their field. Jonny Negron looked the part in a fantastic hat, but wasn’t particularly articulate about his work. His images (and above) borrow from Japanese manga and often feature extremely curvy, sexy women. I found Heather Benjamin’s stuff pretty disturbing (you have been warned) which is at odds with how nice she seemed in person! She talked about how it’s a very personal thing for her and a forum in which she gets to work out all her ‘stuff’ about sex.

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