Hi my name is Jackie Adshead and I’d like to give many thanks to the luscious Lucy Felthouse and the other wonderful Brit Babes for inviting me here today to chat. The obvious theme for me as a lifelong artist is erotic art and its impact on women which is my favourite subject!
Although I describe myself as a professional artist who specializes in erotic art, for reasons I’ll explain in a minute, I am in part a writer as well since I have been featured in The Guild of Erotic Artists book (volume 2) and have for a number of years written an artist blog connected to my website www.jackieadshead.co.uk describing my current projects and exploring the reactions they sometimes evoke.
As artists and writers we all want to connect with others creatively through our words and images and inspire others to see the world in a slightly different way from that experience. Where erotic writers paint their erotica with cleverly chosen words as an erotic artist I use images. Which probably sounds very simple but actually isn’t. Erotic art should be subtle and for me hint at what has happened within the picture up until then, and more importantly start off lots of sensual ideas as to what happens next which may have diverse responses in different people. Art isn’t always about painting what’s infront of you; it can be about painting what you can’t see sometimes. It shouldn’t be exactly the same as a photo, as an artist I want to look beyond the subject and ascertain what can be removed and still leave the essence, and hopefully add to it by the process. I love the tricks that add interest and excitement to a picture. I like to hint at sex, the erotic, the suggestion of pleasure by highlighting and sharpening the focus in the picture. I love exploring how composition through lines and shapes, tonal lights and darks create contrast and make the picture more exciting. I love to stimulate my brain by the way I paint, and I like to excite the viewer’s brain by what I’ve created.
When I first started life drawing some years ago I realized that although drawing naked figures from life is an incredibly useful technique for an artist since it teaches how to look at the fine details in front of you, I didn’t find the drawings that exciting until I realized that less is more and started to leave out a hand, or a face, or the legs and the image was far more interesting because of it. Like reading a book, you fill in the picture in your head and can see it without all the details spelt out for you. Infact I found people preferred it since it created movement within the picture when they asked themselves where the missing hand was and what it was doing. I feel strongly that art should speak through the emotions it invokes.
I love erotic art because it’s challenging in so many ways - to find an erotic concept, to create the composition, to capture it, to do it well, and to make the viewer feel erotic when they look at it. All of that has to be encapsulated in one image. And that’s what I strive to do. I paint what I like, that’s what artists do! We paint the things we have empathy for, the inspirational subjects that fill us with great passion. I love painting people and their interaction with each other, and letting the viewer find their own definition of what they’re doing, and why. Until I see the figure I'm going to draw I can't say what the pose will be - it differs for everyone because I will need to find their attributes and enhance them. And it’s also very different as to whether I'm drawing a man or a woman or a couple. Or whether the couple are straight, bi or gay. For women the erotic image will usually be more subtle and feminine, the hint of things unsaid, an item of clothing, footwear or jewellery. For a man to look erotic the image will have to be more blatant. So the challenge is not to draw what I see before me but to enhance it to make it artistic and erotic. And just a small part of something can be far more erotic than the whole thing, so I don’t necessarily need to paint the whole body. I can just focus on a part of it. The use of light should also be considered, which appeals to me very much, perhaps throwing the full face or most of it, into darkness, and deciding whether to use a fluidly wet medium, or maybe a dry crayon or pencil, either will convey a different image and idea.
Having drawn many subjects over the years I know that the female form is the most perfect piece of art since all women are a mix of physical beauty, inner beauty, caring and nurturing but balanced with inner strengths through motherhood and career, family ties and deep abiding friendships, the ability to communicate to great extent and make the world a better place with love and laughter. Capturing all of that within art is an enduring passion for me and whereas I am more than happy painting all subjects from landscapes to animals, buildings and fantasy, it’s the feminine form that I find the most beautiful.
Through my art I have painted surreal erotic landscapes, vibrant abstracts of fannies, portraits with hidden messages, landscapes with hidden couples, and more traditional subjects. Whereas I always have a painting in the planning stage whilst I am working on the current piece, I have no idea where my art will move on to next, but I am aware that it will be exciting, because art should be, both for the artist and the viewers of their art. Even if I paint bowls of fruit in the future, I know I’ll want to incorporate a naked woman amongst the oranges!
It’s a lifelong quest, art, searching for more ideas, more things to portray, and exploring the way that life and art are inter-connected. The people I meet, and the things they say to me, makes me realise that sometimes I am fulfilling a desire in others, as much as myself. They want me to draw their fantasy of themselves, and that’s a fascinating subject to pursue.