An interview with artist Zoe Corleone, about her work, inspiration and her ongoing project “The museum of Porn in Art”. It gives a very personal background on the way she weaves her images together, an it’s excellent introduction to the art of this remarkable artist.
How would you personally describe the nature of your art?
Well, I would call it impulsive and spontaneous. The paintings basically create themselves as I go along. I’ve always liked mixing different materials together. It is interesting to see how the paints, varnish, gels or any other juicy liquids I might be using, react with each other. A lot of the time my art is a result of little accidents that happen during the process. There was once a painting I did, called “Stripper”, where I was so busy working on the piece with all sorts of tools, that I ripped the canvas by mistake. At first I was kind of pissed, but then I had the glorious idea, to just stitch it together. The painting then had a big fat cut, which looked like a scar and in the end it gave the painting that certain “BAD” look, which was a great finish to the piece.
What artists, art periods, are an inspiration for your own work? And in what way?
Jackson Pollack’s canvases with these huge layers of paint, which have been poured and splashed on over and over again, are great! They have something very untamed and wild about them. You get taken in by all these different forms and figures, hidden in all those drops and splashes of dried paint. It’s like looking at a fire, you just can’t take your eyes away from it.
Francis Bacon is another artist which has been a great inspiration with his work. These wonderfully distorted faces of the characters in the deserted scenery of his paintings. Most of them have a very dark and gloomy side to them, which makes my imagination go wild on stories matching the scene in the picture.
In the end, there are many things inspiring me. Situations I see in everyday life; advertisements, posters of concerts, entrances of strip clubs or porn cinemas, Red light districts, Burlesque shows, old and new posters of porn films, table dance clubs and many many other things. I’m a collector, I have always been gathering things together I like as long as I can remember. In fact they use to call me “bag lady” when I was younger because I often went round carrying all these bags of stuff I found and wanted to keep. Up to now I’ve gathered quite a collection of “useless” stuff and when ever I have a moment of complete artistic emptiness I look through my assembly of objects, cards, posters, wrappings, etc..to get new ideas, which usually works!
Where are your ideas coming from? Does your work reflect your own erotic fantasies and desires?
I am constantly on the look out for new ideas an inspiration. Once I find something I like, I start gathering material together until I’m ready to complete the idea. It is like a puzzle, putting different bits and pieces together until you have one whole one. There are other times where I just sit in my studio and start drawing things out of my head, not thinking of anything in particular, which is very liberating…I must say!
My work isn’t really based on my erotic fantasies, it’s the aesthetic of the picture as in such, I like. The striptease dancers I often paint, with the colorful light reflecting on their body, the sexy lingerie and the “bling” surroundings of the clubs, all that combined is very erotic and great to look at! I guess it’s more a passion for that erotic world as a total which is reflected in my work, rather than fantasy of something.
What is your biggest artistic frustration? Or What’s your main struggle in the creation process?
A struggle that always comes up is the actual artistic skills. I was never too good in drawing and sometimes that can become really annoying. However I found ways to cheat and go round this obstacle. Then there is of course, the problem most artists have which is the actually selling of the art. I seem to be producing and producing and not really getting rid of it…maybe I just have to die first…
Is it easy to find places to display your work? Or is erotic or sexual?themed art still somewhat taboo in your country?
In Switzerland people might be a bit more relaxed than in some other countries, however it is still a taboo theme, especially when it’s too explicit. I’m working as a curator for a web-museum called “Museum of Porn in Art”, where I organize monthly exhibitions with erotic art. I’m often confronted with people who think, that this kind of art is very filthy and would never buy such a piece. We are one of the only places showing such explicit art works in Zurich. Nevertheless, are things slowly changing and since some of the big art galleries have done erotic art exhibitions with famous artists, it is even becoming kind of trendy! Once again I guess you need to have a name for the mass to accept your ways!
Can you provide a link to a website you often visit?
Museum of Porn in Art Well I’m doing a bit of house advertising here but I’m very proud of all the art we’ve shown so far, from such great artists! It is a web-museum originally made up from an erotic art collection from Edi A. Stoeckli and Peter Preissle. The site was launched in 2002 and since then I’ve been adding numerous numbers of virtual exhibitions, a web-shop and much more. Then there is of course the “Art of Love” site I visit a lot, for all it’s great art!