Instagram is a breeding ground for all kinds of creativity, from selfies, to illustrations, to typography, to fashionistas finding their flow. One medium in particular seems to be cropping up more and more in my feed, the Insta-Illustrators. Illustrators using their feeds as a portfolio of their creative work - from prints you can click through to buy on their site, to just super cool illustrations that spread like wildfire across the A-list accounts. Instagram should be a place for just that - exploring your creativity, being expressive and unleashing the shackles of traditional ‘art’ in whatever way you see fit.
I came across the work of Venus Libido, an Illustrator with a fierce passion and voice that fills your feed with just the right amount of sass and substance. Venus uses her art as a vehicle to communicate powerful messages on mental health, body positivity and feminism - amongst the odd dick pic, of course. What’s even more fascinating, is how it’s communicated. Using Instagram as a tool to reach her audience in a space where they’re exposed, open minded and explorative. Venus was kind enough to answer some of my questions on finding her fierce and fabulous flow:
Tell me a little bit about you and what you stand for...
My name is Venus Libido, I'm 26 and I'm from the UK. I started illustrating at the start of 2017 after quitting my job and moving out of London. I really just needed time away from the madness. Drawing just seemed like a good release for me and when I started posting them on Instagram people started messaging me saying how much they related to my work. As I've developed my style and my confidence over the last year I realised I wanted to try and communicate the more taboo topics through my new platform. Addressing current issues around sexual harassment, mental health, equality and being body positive.
One of things I love about your work is its completely unapologetic, fierce and fabulous vibe. What was the journey like getting to a place where you openly share this? Was it always this way?
When I was at university my work was really similar but in a sculptural form. I made sculptures based around the body and for my final piece I made a wrecking ball out of cocks! So yeah in a sense my work has always been unapologetic and darkly comical. The journey to where I am now has been difficult but the things I've experienced have made me stronger, more unapologetic, more confident and more giving less fucks!
I experienced some form of sexual harassment in every job I've had since graduating; A career which has been a varied journey within the arts. I have been ignored, I have been told to be quiet and I have been told to cheer the fuck up by men way to much. Finally I feel like I can use my voice and help educate others to feel empowered enough to use theirs too.
What advice would you give to young Women in the Creative Industries?
My one advice is to never be afraid to speak up if something is wrong. I was always too scared to confront people when I felt uncomfortable about something. But then one day something just clicked inside me and I finally started to say no. If a company isn't paying you the same amount as the man sat next to you or tells you that because your a woman and can't lift that box then well fucking speak up! You're the person who decides what you can and cannot do, not a man.
What's the fuel that drives your work and what does this look like as a Creative Process?
The fuel is simple, it's just life. Everything I draw is from the things I think, see, hear or have experienced at some point in my life. It's all true and it's all me and what I draw comes from a place that is just screaming to get out.
What’s been your most important ‘growth’ moment? That moment when the middle finger went up and the worries went away...
When I quit my job in London. I worked for this company and I was constantly being sexually harassed and belittled by this one guy and no one seemed to speak up or tell him he was wrong, not me and not even my manager. So when I left I made sure he knew how I felt and for me that was the moment I found my voice.