Fusing porn with high art

A Q-and-A with Salacious founder Katie Diamond
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  January 12, 2011

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Porn in the form of prose and poems, along with sexy and graphic illustrations and photos, fill the pages of Salacious, a new magazine dedicated to erotic art and literature, the likes of which you may never have seen — at least not compiled in one place. Salacious, which celebrates its Portland launch this Thursday, January 13 at Slainte, is the brainchild of Katie Diamond, a local artist and activist. She calls the 60-page, full-color magazine "a perfect fusion of pornography with high art, comics with erotica, titillation with stunning visuals . . . the radical queer answer to the proliferation of such limited stereotypes as 'girl-on-girl' and gay 'muscle' porn."

We interviewed her in advance of the party, as word of the magazine spread and she prepped for launch parties in other cities including Brooklyn, Boston, Oakland, and the other Portland.

WHEN DID YOU FIRST KNOW FOR CERTAIN THAT YOU WERE ACTUALLY GOING TO DO THIS — WHAT WAS THE IMPETUS FOR IT MOVING FROM IDEA TO REALITY? I sent an e-mail to a friend of mine who works in publishing — basically asking if they'd ever seen anything like this before. The short answer is "no," this is a fresh idea and a fresh look at smut magazines. After receiving that answer, and asking a few folks I know that work in porn and erotica, I knew this had to be done. I wanted to supply something that had yet to be supplied, to fill a void that people didn't know existed yet.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE MOST CHALLENGING AND MOST REWARDING PARTS OF THE PROCESS SO FAR? When I started this project, I thought that creating illustrated smut was easy. The truth of the matter is, to do illustrated sex well and with the right intentions — this is very hard. Everyone has a different definition of what sex is, what sexy is, what feminism is, what queer is. Everyone has a different idea of what's titillating and what's offensive. Trying to capture the spectrum of sexuality and gender, and to do so with a feminist, anti-racist perspective . . . Well, it's really difficult! But while this has been the most challenging aspect, this has also been the most rewarding. I've had incredible conversations about the definition of sex, sexuality, gender, heteronormativity, kink, race... It's been very fulfilling, and I continue to have these incredible learning moments.

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WHO OR WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR INSPIRATIONS IN THIS ARENA? ARE THERE PEOPLE OR PLACES YOU TRUST FOR BOTH ACCURATE, EXPANSIVE, AND EROTIC REPRESENTATIONS OF SEX AND SEXUALITY? Great question. Ellen Forney is a great illustrator. She has a book of work she did for Seattle's The Stranger called LUST, which is a collection of illustrations she did from the personals section of The Stranger.

Additionally, Alison Bechdel. Her comic "Dykes To Watch Out For" did a great job illustrating different bodies and different sexualities. I can really only hope to have as expansive and inclusive as she's been with that comic. It's not really erotic, but does have sexuality.

While I wouldn't call him "accurate" or "expansive," I really admire Tom of Finland. His drawing style, in addition to the graphic sex, has really influenced me. I've always loved his "Kake" comic series.

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