Apollonia Saintclair605 – Les béquilles [The Third Auxiliary] (2015)

Each time I re-encounter Saintclair’s work, my appreciation of her talent expands.

Like Mœbius–who’s syncretism of sacred (attuned to the rigorously established precepts of classical drafting and design in high art) and profane (explicitly graphic depictions of sexual activity) is almost certainly a major influence–Saintclair almost always releases work that is both salacious and eminently refined.

I adore the image above. I appreciate the fact that I actually sat here for ten minutes decoding the fact that the hands depicted here belong to four different people.

Further, I love the way her treatment of cross hatching and shading render appear to be almost art nouveau-esque when you are examining the piece close at hand, and then when you zoom out and see it at a distance, the stylization diminishes to affect a sort of photo-realistic look.

Compositionally, I can’t see how anyone could look at this and not appreciate the careful balance between highlight and shadow–I mean this illustration is, after all, a gradient from top to bottom (light to shadow). But like the yin-yang symbol, the shadows in the light area balance against light in the shadow areas. It’s masterful, really. (She’s probably also riffing on Escher here.)

Lastly: for three years–give or take and excluding guest curatorial stints–I’ve insisted on alternative between B&W and color images every other post on this blog. (I know, I know–your mind is blown.)

It’s not especially easy to pull of. There is a dearth of B&W stuff, a surfeit of color. So it’s refreshing to have an artist whose work successfully scratches a particular itch in such a virtuoso fashion.

(Disclaimer: this Tumblr was high af off Cali’s finest medical edibles while writing this post.)

Apollonia SaintclarL’archipel du plaisir [Liquid joy II] (2016)

During my undergrad stint, I flirted with layout and design..

There was something heady about pre-CS Photoshop image manipulation that appealed to me. I could take existing pictures and turn them into reasonably compelling posters for campus events.

I called what I did graphic design. And for the most part, I never said it loud enough or in the company of anyone who was a legit graphic designer until after I graduated.

But as I came into contact with folks who paid their bills doing design related stuff. I quickly learned that being able to layout out a flyer was only a fraction of what graphic design entailed.

Pros were always obsessed with the pedigree of typefaces, serifs vs sans serifs, integration of content and form.

Generally, I found such people intolerable. The work they made was thoroughly accomplished in a utilitarian sense but lacked passion and flair. (It would take me a full five years to realize that although I wasn’t really interested in graphic design, I am very interested in the underlying notions of UX/UI in regards to design.)

Anyway, I mention all that because two terms that design folks toss around a lot are ‘minimal’ and ‘clean lines’. And those are two terms I would use to describe Saintclar’s work.

As far as terminology goes: ‘minimal’ with ‘clean lines’ might as well be pointless in their ubiquity. However, given a visual context, they can be useful when it comes to orientation.

For example: Saintclar’s work always reminds me of Dürer. But it’s an association in negative–by that I mean, although Dürer’s work is maximal, he uses space and line in a very similar fashion to Saintclar.

Yet, what I also appreciate about Saintclar is that the artist uses lines in a surprisingly varied manner. They can imply shape, give form to negative space or–as above–emphasize dimenstionality.

What’s more: the framing is actually ingenious. A lesser artist would’ve inched the frame back enough to include the full swath of the messy on the floor. By allowing that to trail out of frame, the viewer is given a sense of continuity of space beyond the frame edge. Combined with the fact that the perspective is render in such a way so that vanishing point of the image is hidden behind the woman’s hand, it presents an image that is both erotically charged and artfully composed. (This is definitely not some #skinnyframebullshit due to its internally consistent use of composition and the fact that it is mindful of the fact that the viewer’s eye is meant to wander up and down instead of side to side.)

Apollonia SaintclairThe knack (2015)

I love this but for very different reasons that most of the material I’ve posted relating to ejaculation.

I’m usually arguing for the potential of seminal emission as a subject of artistic examination due to it’s visual dynamism. And it’s not that this image isn’t dynamic–jizz jetting 3.5 inches into inky black negative space is always going to be inherently dynamic.

But here that reads as quotidian compared to other incisive details. The lighting is discernibly motivated–presumpably falling from the window in the upper left of frame, haloing the right hand and wrestling highlight detail from the shdows. (The way the hair from his happy trail fades to scattered razor stubble and then to bare skin is lovely.)

But what’s most interesting is the attention to detail. The pinky of the left hand pressed against the skin. Even though there’s no motion it’s clear that the left hand is stroking down, while squeezing tight and the right hand is ascending, clenching tightly over the head of the penis.