The other night I was sitting on the couch, scrolling through Instagram as we were watching some mindless TV. Fort Collins Instagram is usually filled with food photos, craft beer snapshots, outdoor adventures (many of the aforementioned I contribute to), dogs, dogs in breweries, gym selfies, and the ever prevalent growing cannabis plants and bud/shatter/wax pics.
What you don’t see is a lot of artistic penis. But, that’s all changing.
I happened to come across some 80s and 90s-inspired pop art from Dirty Mouth Art – brightly colored splashes and strokes of inked line sketches depicting various sexual acts – and the vast majority of them focusing on dicks. Erect, deep throated, kissed, and shared – if there’s a perspective to view a penis, Tina, artist and creative mind behind the account, has put it on paper with some bold color to make it even more eye catching.
My initial reaction to seeing this art gallery of dicks wasn’t shock, and not amused embarrassment (for Christ’s sake – I write on Naked Fort Collins), it was WOW. Wow that this art is being created in Fort Collins. Wow that someone was brave enough to put it out there to break down the taboo of liking dick. Wow that it comes from a woman, a wife, a mother, an artist – a person you’d never expect to be drawing blow job art. I LOVED IT for all of those reasons.
After my initial WOW reaction, I tossed my phone across the couch to show my husband. “Look at what I just found on Instagram!” I exclaimed. “I have to set up an interview with her. I want to know all about this.”
“Something like 8% of kids do it,” he replied, referencing SuperBad. I can always count on him for a good laugh.
While that scene may be hilarious, it’s absolutely relevant to the intention of Tina’s art. We see the celebration of the female form – artistically since nearly the beginning of humankind, and more often objectified and pornofied. We do not see penis celebrated in the same way. And those who do draw dicks are judged as weird, wrong, and shamed for it – viewed as being possessed by the Dick Devil.
Raised in a conservative religious family, Tina has been an artist all her life, with both a career as a graphic artist and some time spent working in a medical office, which can be understood from some of the more anatomical expressions in her art. But Dirty Mouth Art and her homage to sex, and particularly penis, just started in March of this year. With this style, she enjoys the hands-on aspect with acrylics, being able to create, communicate, and deliver ideas physically rather than online in our digital-obsessed world.
Her first show was at Raw in Denver, a gallery event with liberal and open-minded artists, many of whom walked right on by her booth out of obvious shame or dragged friends over for amusement. It’s an interesting social experiment to see people’s reactions to dick art, especially dick art drawn by a woman in a very male-dominated niche.
Instagram has pulled her account down multiple times over the last couple of months, often as a result of being tagged as inappropriate porn. However after verifying that she’s a real person creating the art, Instagram brings her back online. Curious that the social platform makes that distinction between erotic art and porn, even when it’s a cultural challenge for the rest of society – and particularly Fort Collins. There are plenty of followers from France, Germany, and US soldiers stationed in the Middle East sending virtual high-fives for her work. Although, our fair city likes to believe we’re progressive and liberal when the truth is that only a fraction of us truly are. Or more realistically, we hide those parts of us behind the the safety of Fort Facade.
That’s about as negative as her foray into erotic art has been. It’s more of a nuisance than anything, and followers have been fairly respectful, as her goal isn’t to force people into seeing her work. There are the DMs from people asking for live drawings or to commission her to draw their own penis instead of buying her already created art (of course), but that’s not what this is all about. It’s an expression of fantasy, a platform for conversation about sex, and a visual storytelling of sexual things we can relate to – whether we’ve shared those experiences or fantasize about them. Sex is a biological drive in us that we can’t ignore. It’s why we have so many goddamn people on this planet. All too often we view it as a secret rather than something we do, and sometimes we don’t even talk about it with the people we really should.
That’s part of why I enjoy Tina’s art so much – I feel like we all can relate in the sense that this is a part of who we are as people, the significance of that part being on a scale. Some people are asexual and have no drive at all, while others thrive on daily participation. But nevertheless, we are complex people, and our various degrees of sexual appetite are only an aspect of who we are. They don’t define us as our whole selves. And no matter where we fall on that sexual scale, there is nothing shameful about it.
In Tina’s words from her website:
“I would like to draw a penis on everything. I find them magical, wonderful, and beautiful. I also find everything about sex beautiful. The vagina, breast, ass, the mouth, every part of the human body involved in sex is beautiful and should be celebrated and portrayed in art as such. My goal is to take the male penis and to help take the giggle out of the room when you look at. It is ART and it is BEAUTIFUL and I want you to enjoy looking it!”
I’m certainly going to enjoy my very own Dirty Mouth Art piece, because it’s a beautiful drawing created by another Fort Collins woman who is a completely open book. Birds of a feather flock together, I say. Here’s where you can get your own from Tina on Etsy, too. She’s currently wrapping up her Blow Job series. You won’t see many women featured in her next set, but you can bet on there being a lot of penis.