Got a Girl Crush On: Mattie Hinkley
“I want to show alternative bodies, I want to show fluid gender roles, I want to show the sex people have all the time.“
Introduce yourself – where are you? How long have you been an illustrator?
Right now I’m living in Richmond, Virginia. I’ve been here for almost ten years, but in a few weeks I’m moving to Northern California to go to school for carpentry. When I’m done I’ll come back; Richmond is my home. I love it here. I came here when I was 19 after dropping out of SCAD Atlanta. I had intended to major in illustration there, but after a year my roommate started doing drugs and skipped town. I didn’t really know what to do, I was a kid you know, so I came here.
Why sex? Why do you choose to illustrate folks in sexy situations? Has it been prohibitive in the type of clients you try to get?
It wasn’t really a pointed decision to go down this road. It’s just what I think about most often. Really it happened like this: I wanted to teach myself how to crosshatch, so made this illustration of a man going down on a woman. It was just what I felt like drawing that day so I could work on the technique. I posted it online and people loved it. Not really because of the crosshatching, of which I was pretty proud, but because of the subject matter. So I just kept drawing sex scenes and people started noticing them. I started getting commissions, someone would ask me to recreate a sexual memory or fantasy they had with their partner to give to them as a gift. I was pretty surprised by the freaky shit people asked for. It’s great, because I want to show alternative bodies, I want to show fluid gender roles, I want to show the sex people have all the time. Right now all you see is movie sex and porn sex, and in my experiences neither of those are ever accurate depictions of real sex.
What sort of backlash do you get from you drawings? What dialogues has it opened up?
A few months ago, my Instagram got shut down. At the time I wasn’t censoring anything; I would post the drawings as they were and hope no one reported them. They always got taken down after a few days, and apparently if that happens too many times they delete your whole account. That really sucked. I fought to try and get it back, tried to stake the claim that it’s art not pornography, but obviously that claim was dismissed and I had to start a new account wherein-which I censor all my drawings. That’s the most frequent discussion I have, what to call it: art, erotica, pornography. As I see it, pornography and erotica both have the specific intention of sexual arousal. That’s not my intention. I’ve never masturbated from my drawings, so I personally see them as art. But I know other people who’ve used them as pornography. Does that make them so? If I jerk off looking at an Egon Schiele nude, does that make it porn? Beyond that, isn’t the purpose of art to make the viewer feel something? Why would lust be any less valid of an emotional response than heartbreak or fear or joy?
What’s your ideal illustration job?
Ideally I’d freelance forever, drawing real people (or couple or trios or whatever plurality) having the sex they want to have, interspersed with punk show fliers. If I could also somehow orchestrate my life to be like that of a touring band or tattooer, that’d be gold. To travel and work, what a dream.
What women do you currently crush on?