In an artistic exploration of Fashion’s BETRAYAL and Art’s ACCEPTANCE of sexuality, Fine Artist Shawn P. Griffin and RAVEN+ROSE collaborate in a creative endeavour that coincides with Art Week, Art Basel and Art Central in Hong Kong.


In the exclusive interview below, read about how Shawn P. Griffin grew the flowers for this shoot, how he challenges the concept of pornography and his great ‘Uh-HU!’ moment during creating these collages.

“Why can something not be both

sexual and beautiful

without being thought of as

pornographic or shameful.”

What was the message you wanted to portray with your R+R X Shawn P. Griffin images?

“Fashion, and even more specifically lingerie brands, both push “idealized” sexuality too much and realistic sexuality, not enough. I was wanting to take an approach that recognized and empowered the more androgynous and self-confident side of women that fashion advertisements and lingerie brands like to pretend don’t exist. Models in lingerie campaigns are so frequently portrayed through the gaze of a straight male, then censored back by what can actually be published for mass market consumption. These images aim to to break conventional advertising perceptions and give back a feeling of confidence in sexuality.”

The imagery is strongly phallic but also very feminine, what is the suggestion behind this?

“The suggestion behind this is looking at ones own sexuality as a beautiful thing, and not something that should be shamed or viewed as “abnormal”. The floral yet phallic anthuriums used stirs symbolism of androgyny as well as causing the viewer to question how they view sexuality as a whole. Why can something not be both sexual and beautiful without being thought of as pornographic or shameful.”

Is there a line between Fashion and Art, if so where do you see it drawn?

“I think there is a very very very fine line between fashion and art, and even still, that line only exists once the fashion becomes commercialized. Fashion can exist in itself as fine art if you’re observing statement pieces strictly on a runway, or if you, for example, wear something that you’ve made yourself. The very fine line is drawn once commercialism, supply and demand, and all of those fun, marketing vocabulary terms come into play. As with any craft, once you become concerned with your fashion being heavily marketable, you have to start watering down the statements and the conceptual side of your creations to fit market demand. The goal is finding something that still conveys your concept and soul of your work while still keeping it consumer relevant and marketable. I think what excited Jasmine and I so much about this collaboration is that we were able to use this approach to sit beautifully on top of that very very fine line.”

What were some of the most enjoyable moments creating these images?  What were some of the more challenging?

“I always love the a-ha moment in a collage where all of your individual pieces come together. I usually collage found images from advertising with my own photos, but for this series, I took a different approach by photographing every aspect of each collage. it made those moments when the images matched up all the more rewarding to see the images working with each other.
In terms of most challenging, I’d have to say keeping it toned down enough to stay on topic with the concept. When you work with fantasy scenes, and in a fine art setting, it is easy to get lost in the creation of these worlds and veer off into something that might look mesmerizing, but totally miss the mark in terms of conveying the concept. Keeping my head grounded while trying to create a surreal environment was definitely something challenging, but something that is necessary for creating work that will hit the mark between your audience and message.”

To be confident in one’s own sexuality, what do you think is needed?

“Release. You really just have to stop caring how other people judge your personal lives. People should be respectful of you no matter how you express yourself. The one’s who aren’t are not worth your time and definitely not worth your effort in censoring yourself.”

Do you think sexuality in 2017 is at a place of revolution in the West in comparison to how it has been portrayed in the past?

“I think that it most certainly is. With the sudden and passing of so many bills (and the conflicts surrounding them too. It made the topic of sexuality frequently mentioned in the news,  especially with the LGBT community. That kind of presence opens up a talking point between friends and families as is important for normalizing the topic. More people from a diverse range of backgrounds are opening themselves up to accepting if not at least understanding that these topics exist and effect someone they care about. “


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