What is it about hair, for you? I look at old magazines in junk shops, old print materials, old this and old that. What has it meant for you? This strikes me as likely the most overtly autobiographical element of your work—that at least in emotional terms, if not in terms of depicting specific events, much of it originates in unpleasant experiences you yourself had. As far as what I look at now, I don't look at much current artwork, and I feel like a weirdo for it. The artistic growth she has demonstrated during the three years it took her to publish Sad Sex — currently available in a collected edition from Desert Island— is readily apparent, and remarkable. As collected in her aptly named zine series Sad Sex, as featured in the anthologies edited by her fellow members in the sprawling and prolific Collective Stench group, and as blogged and reblogged on her comprehensive and frequently updated Tumblr , Benjamin's drawings are a primal scream in the direction of human sexuality.
That was the year I got invited by Printed Matter to have my own table at the NY Art Book Fair, so I was scrambling to get things done for that at the same time as trying to finish shitty coursework that I didn't have any real interest in and just couldn't bring myself to do. I think it's awesome that a close-knit group of really talented artists formed this group together basically right out of college and have stayed together pretty solidly even through a lot of us are starting to also focus a lot on our own work. I'm a perfectionist, so I just feel like I got to get better at real storytelling. I feel pretty indifferent about it, unless it's saying something extra or if I think the drawing is gorgeous, but I'll love a drawing if I think it's done beautifully no matter what the subject matter is. I thought that soundtracking it with "Lick My Nuts" by Three 6 Mafia framed the material, and even the setting—you in your bedroom—in a way that maybe overwhelmed the work. Was that an attempt at self-medication? I need to get better about not trying to just completely live in decades that I wasn't even born yet in. I still remember my first time - how excited and kind of nervous I felt when I was stepping into that world of debauchery and lust. I was already looking at a lot of art at that point, and I pretty much already knew I wanted to go to art school because I'd already been obsessively drawing for a lot of my life, but comics were never really a thing till then. It is lust that gives me my wings. The only thing I wish had been different about that video is that I didn't even know it was going to be a video interview—when they came over they initially had told me they were just taking some photos of my space and asking me questions. You said it came on relatively quickly—how did you treat it? I wanted to ask you about the Superchief. I think that what makes Sad Sex and your other stuff stand out—and this is sort of what I was getting at in comparing it to sex-based work by other cartoonists—is that its approach to sex is more obviously, and viscerally, negative than what you typically see. I have one copy of it. I love drawing hair just for the endless rendering possibilities and graphic qualities of it, and I love drawing hair because I love hair—not in like a hair fetish way, I'm definitely not one of those people. The backing music was my choice too! Her characters' eyes now that she's moved beyond drawing everyone crying at all times are as alive and mischievous as the peepers you'd find in a Kate Beaton comic. I heard the word lacrosse and instinctively muttered the word motherfuckers under my breath. The reason I don't just do that is that I don't really have an interest in attaching specific storylines, characters, names, whatever else to most of the sad sex stuff, because it is already so personal and I feel like that would just push it over the top a little bit. I guess I grew more into the maudlin sarcasm and dark end of things over the course of the series, and it became more about making the darkness really apparent through more twisted humor, as well as about the process of markmaking, to convey what I was going through with hashing out these issues, rather than just the flat-out porn drawings I was doing in the beginning. One of my favorite things about Sad Sex is how literal the title is, at least at first: I was probably 14 or 15 during that time and that stuff had a huge impact on me. The melancholy or maudlin aspects of the work are now more often expressed in captions rather than in the drawings themselves. I had sort of a hard time with the Bliss Lau drawings because I was specifically instructed for the girls not to have any body hair, not to have as intense of eyebrows as I like to draw, etc. He visited busty Doctor Smith with his sex assistant and blew her mind with new amazing features of Sex Robot Industry. Well, it's not that I have been such a slut all my life.
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