This week’s artist’s Spotlight is on @bunnyraunch
1. Describe you art aesthetic: “Soft, velvety, filth. The sublime beauty of the darker side of the mind. “Dreamsleaze”. The Velveteen rabbit reads a lot of Nietzsche after becoming real and falls in love with The Devil, along with every version of herself. I try to juxtapose all that is soft, warm, and vulnerable against harsh, painful, nightmarish and arguably abusive-looking scenarios as a way to express and enjoy that vulnerability in a visually, mentally and emotionally striking way. ”
2. Why bunnies?
“The simple reason is I like drawing bunnies more than people. The deeper answer is it’s healing some childhood wounds to my psyche and expression, and in real time, which is kinda cool.
When I was a kid I drew more anthropomorphic animals than people in general. As a young teen who was starting to have some sexual awakenings here and there, I would draw whatever I wanted to look at to express these feelings; i didn’t know how else to handle them. I felt guilty for drawing them, and would usally destroy them, but one time I forgot and my parents found this drawing of a very cartoony, voluptuous rabbit, suspended upright by her wrists and ankles in a ramshackle frame, looking quite shell-shocked, with a male rabbit underneath her, his snout all up in her, his little Oscar Meyer boner ready and this evil-ish look on his face.
At this point, I had never seen porn or anything related to bdsm or kink; I was still being asked to cover my eyes or leave the room during sex scenes in movies for crying out loud. It was just…naturally inside my head already. Anyway, my mom didn’t handle it too smoothly out and wouldn’t or couldn’t talk to me for the first time ever in my life and I just assumed what I had done was abhorrent and horrific considering she had always said there was nothing we couldn’t talk about. I felt so much shame and guilt and embarrassment over anything sexual for so long it became a personality trait and honestly, it’s been a huge fuckin’ bummer. A couple months ago I was talking to a friend on the phone, who happens to be a professional sex worker, and I felt safe enough to tell him about this incident, which I was planning to never tell anyone about, ever. He listened and said “you know, you should try drawing your S&M bunnies now…with all you’ve learned about art and the experiences you’ve had, I’m sure they’d be awesome.”
I had never considered ACTUALLY drawing these rabbits again until he said it, it was absurd. One fat blunt later, I said fuck it, sat down with a piece of pink-toned paper, ready to draw whatever dirty, immoral rabbit, burn it, and call it therapeutic.
If you go to the beginning of my Instagram feed, you will see the progression, in order. The first post is the first bunny I drew since I was a kid… and I didn’t want to burn it, I wanted to frame it. She looked so peaceful, her little bunny privates, vulgar as they may be, are soft and delicate and cute. Just already blissed-out, waiting. I didn’t use any references, I just drew and realized how easily stylized and expressive bunnies can be. They have their roots in cuteness and innocence and purity.
Her body is thick and soft and velvety and inviting, her limbs and ears are flexible and floppy and expressive. And I assume it’s obvious how much I enjoy drawing eyes. I look at her face and she either knows this is exactly what she wants, or is arriving at a profound realization about her situation. And I hope that comes across. I want you to identify with maybe not the situation, but the emotion of the piece…that’s the crux of it all. And he’s right, they’re fucking awesome. All the time I’ve spent in life drawing sessions and classes, all the money I’ve spent taking painting and drawing workshops from some of the finest contemporary artists in the world…this is what I use it for. But…I haven’t really seen anything else like it. There’s porn. There’s furries. There’s sweet, allegorical works of art of what life should be like, and then there’s this. A bunny held close and tenderly by a huge, beastly demon with his monstrous tongue buried in the very feminine cavity where her heart should be, fingering her entrails, as she holds her own heart well out of the way, gazing at at him as he devours her.”
3. My favorite piece and why: “My favorite piece is the one I’m currently working on and have just described. I’ve been stuck on the idea of ripping out one’s own heart to save it from whatever hell one is going through and why that is a terrible idea in the long run. I touch on it in “I Am My Own Wicked Stepmother”, it’s all about self-destruction and self-sabotage and the weird sense of empowerment that comes from that. But this one, I feel like she’s actually protecting her heart, maybe wishing she didn’t feel she always has to. I also see it as a version of the one that got me in trouble in the first place. And it will be in the “Predator and Prey” show at Hyaena Gallery in Burbank from May 1st-31st
! I am really enjoying the process and watching it develop. The fact that it’s gonna be in a show is icing on the cake of vindication. “
4. Where do you find inspiration? “The darkest parts of my memories and imagination. Current emotional reactions. Pillow talk. Adventures with friends. Very rarely do I actually SEE something with my eyes and want to draw that. It already exists. I’ve been beaten to the punch; I want to create NEW things, not recreate what I just saw in real life. I want to show you what’s IN my head. I don’t use any reference materials at all, aside from a cursory glance at something like an accessory just so I know how to put it together so it makes sense. But the bodies, expressions, positioning, and the demon character are 100% out of my head every time. There’s a lot of erasing involved, and I compose them lightly and slowly. Some things are sexy hopes and dreams, but much of this subject matter I find visually, mentally and emotionally stimulating, yet I would never want it done to me. The idea of being a human chandelier is so glorious and exquisite: a happily suffering bringer of light and love and trust. In reality, I don’t really want to be trussed up and hung from the ceiling with a lit candle shoved up my ass and no bloodflow to my purple-ing limbs, thanks. I would like a nice demon who wants to lick my heart and fuck my soul, though. That’d be great.”
5. Any exciting shows or events coming up? ”
“Yes! I’ve been invited to show two pieces in a group show called “Predator and Prey” at Hyaena Gallery (@hyaenagallery) in Burbank! The show runs from May 1st to the 31st
and the artist reception party is on the 11th from 8-11pm.
I’ve been doing this art almost completely anonymously, so it’ll be interesting for me to actually show up and accept whatever reactions these drawings inspire, if any. I am also currently creating my website, bunnyraunch.com
, where you will soon be able to find and purchase my works as originals and prints, and I’m testing the waters of the sticker/tshirt/pin game as well, so if you’re interested keep an eye on @bunnyraunch on Instagram for updates and fresh raunchy weirdness. “