Disability and Sexuality in Art: An Interview with InkDevil

"Wrap Your Arms Around Me"

“Wrap Your Arms Around Me”

Those of you who follow me here or on twitter know that one of the reasons I write is to try to tear down some stigmas and cultural stereotypes that people with disabilities are asexual, or that sex with someone who has a disability is wrong or disgusting. Society at large tends to infantilize people with disabilities, and I try to do my small part to attempt to change that.

I recently came across an artist who has a similar goal with her artwork. She goes by the name InkDevil and is a 42-year-old woman living in middle England. She works full time in the construction industry, but art is her passion. She’s taken it upon herself to try to change some of the stigmas of disability and sex through her art, which, though explicit, is far from pornography. Instead, her work shows the beauty of the sexual act with an individual with a disability.

She’s had several PWDs (and their partners) volunteer to model for her, and she’s always looking for new models. If you’re interested in volunteering, you can contact her via email at deviledink(at)outlook.com.

I recently had the opportunity to chat with her and ask her some questions about her art. The interview is below, along with some samples of her work.

**Warning: Some of the artwork included in the interview below is explicit.**

“Disabled people are so often regarded as asexual or not capable of having normal sexual relationships with other people; I just want to change that.”

CA: How did you first get into art?

ID: I can’t remember how or when I started drawing, it’s just something that I’ve always wanted to do and always been able to do from a very young age. Other children at primary school would ask me to draw things for them at around age 9/10, so I must have been producing drawings that were ‘better’ than the average child’s at that age, I suppose. It’s not something I ever had lessons for until a lot later in life (17/18), so my style has been this way since I can remember and the technique I have just picked up along the way. My mum was a good artist and my dad can draw too, so I guess it’s mostly inherited.

CA: How long have you been creating?

ID: I have always been creating. Either drawing, painting or making things. This extends to other crafts, such as sewing, making gifts for people and trying my hand at writing. Not too good at the last one, but I still enjoy laying things down on paper, be  it words or pictures.



CA: What mediums do you work in?

ID: For ease I usually work in either pencil, charcoal or pastel pencils. My style lends itself to these soft media that I can blend to get a realistic effect. I don’t like hard lines. I like to draw people and the human form, being natural, doesn’t have any hard lines. A drawing is essentially made up of patches of light and shadow, that’s all.

I sometimes paint too and I’ll use acrylics on canvas then. I tend to go down that route at art classes where I can make a mess of someone else’s room though. Getting a successful painting done requires setting aside several hours of uninterrupted time and I just don’t get that at home with two young children.

CA: Do you prefer working in black and white, or in color?

ID: I love colour, but I seem to do a lot of black and white pieces because they can look quite effective and you can really use light and shadow to achieve a good effect when you limit yourself to monochrome. I walk around seeing the colours in things around me though. I can’t not notice that, especially the colour blue, for some reason. I’ll see a shadow and it will be full of different shades of blue and I’ll yearn to capture that in a drawing.

CA: Walk us through your artistic process, from start to finish.

ID: I must have a process, but I can’t say I’ve analysed it before, so here goes…

Firstly I need to select a photo that I want to draw. So it will be either a photo someone has sent me, or something I have cut out of the newspaper that has caught my eye perhaps. Nearly always people. A good strong composition helps and a photo that has enough detail in it for me to be able to reproduce it accurately.

These days I have become increasingly lazy, so to save my precious time, I just trace the outline of the key parts of the photo (once it’s blown up to the correct size on the photocopier, usually A3) onto my paper. Using the the original photo as a constant reference, I begin to try and replicate the detail from there onto my blank piece of paper.

I usually start with the face(s), just because…! There’s no rhyme or reason to it, it’s just the way I work. I work my way slowly across the whole drawing, looking back and forth between the two to check they are looking the same. I take photos as I go on my phone as it tends to give the illusion of distance and will highlight any errors I have made.

I will spend between four and eight hours on a drawing on average. Any less and it’s rarely finished to my level of satisfaction. Any more and I get bored and/or overwork areas and mess it all up. I complete a piece in one sitting. I really don’t like revisiting pieces. I’m not a very patient artist!

When I’m happy with the end result, I will sign it and spray it with fixative. Then it’s carefully stashed in a folder, or sometimes framed if it’s a present or for an art show.

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