Chinese illustrator Jinkuang’s work can be best described as avant-garde smut. It’s art that elevates the normal into the suggestive. A pair of loose-fitting boxer briefs wrapped around a set of muscular thighs, drawn in a palette of unexpected tones, teases at a world of fleshly pleasures. This playful approach adds a touch of levity to the sexually charged works, giving them more than carnal appeal.
To Jinkuang, there’s a fine line between the erotic and the pornographic. Through his calculated use of color, he looks to temper the crudeness of the content. Vibrant hues, like cerulean blues, saffron yellows, lavender purples, and lime greens shade in his scantily-clad characters. While desire and sexuality are indeed the subject of his illustrations, he insists that the work is “never meant to be X-rated.”
Jinkuang’s art is an outlet for his desires, and it’s rewarding to know that others have felt as aroused as he was while drawing. “Some of my followers have messaged me, saying that they’ve been really turned on by my illustrations,” he grins. “I suppose it’s like my sexual desires never quite went away. They were just transplanted into my art.”
Often on a whim Jinkuang draws an everyday object, such as shoes, socks, fruits or flowers. Sometimes these are allusions to body parts, sometimes they’re just fetish objects. If there’s a particular item he’s especially fond of, he might even build out an entire series revolving around it. “I like examining the overlooked parts of daily life,” he says. “I think there’s tremendous potential within these delicate moments.”
Despite the homoerotic nature of Jinkuang’s art, he’s gained an unexpected following of female fans in recent years. He’s grateful that his work appeal to them, believing that societal norms have, for too long, dictated that women shouldn’t freely embrace their sexuality. Through the lens of art, a woman’s appreciation of sex can somehow feel more appropriate. “I’m not actually trying to make any grand statements about specific social issues or inspire change,” he adds. “But maybe the existence of my art is enough. Maybe it can encourage some people to fully be themselves.”