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[NSFW] Natalie Krim's Erotic Illustrations Get Cheeky

Inspired by the 1920s, the illustrator’s lace and lingerie-filled works are like dirty little diary entries.
Images courtesy of the artist. 

This article originally appeared on Creators and contains adult content.

In a strict sense, Natalie Krim's sparse illustrations might technically be classified as erotica. But far from just smut, her work is an expression of her own feelings and experiences, that special set of sensations that can be difficult to express with words alone. Based in New York, the artist is currently having her first solo show in Los Angeles, because I love you but you're not here, which opened at Little Big Man Gallery on April 23, and is on view until May 13. Creators spoke to Natalie Krim about the evolution of her practice, her artistic process, her inspirations, and her first love: lingerie.


Installation shot from i love you but you're not here.

Creators: First, could you talk about your evolution as an artist?

Natalie Krim: When I started, the work was very colorful, just fun and flirty. I mean, it's very different than what I'm doing now. I call those girls "The Babes." It's changed in a sense that I think that I've just grown up a little bit in that time. What I was dealing with at that point is quite different than where I'm at now. I think that, because I work in such a journalistic way with my own life, that you see how I evolve in the personal sense that comes through in my artwork.

Can you say a bit more about that journalistic aspect?

I have a hard time even saying that I'm an artist, or whatever that even means. I really just journal so much of my own experiences, my relationships with people and how I interact with them. I just put it all down on paper. It's really journal pages, like a diary. I have a hard time verbalizing certain things, so I do it through my drawings.

Has this always been your process?

It's always been my process. Even in school, I would always just doodle in my notebook. When I was growing up, my mom always gave me journals to write in or to draw in, and so it's just second nature to me to express myself in that way.

I really just take my own experiences, like a moment that someone said something to me, and if the drawing is of a girl and she's alone, it could be just me thinking about a certain situation, or remembering a certain situation. I don't really take into account making up a character or what she's doing, it's really just documenting where I'm at.


One thing that's immediately recognizable in all the works is the presence of lingerie. Can you talk about your relationship to it?

Well, lingerie is really my first love. I've been collecting it for 15 years, studying it and the historical context of lingerie, and what that means in society. You can look at a garment and know how women's rights were at that moment in history. I'm just fascinated by the whole thing. So lingerie plays a strong part because it is so much a part of just what I've studied and been obsessed with for half of my life.

Is lingerie something that naturally appears on the women when you draw them, or is it something that you back and add on later?

It really is something that naturally comes out. It can be playful or empowering, or sometimes the girls have nothing on at all. I kind of just go with it, I don't really have a specific mindset before I start a drawing, it just comes out. It sounds terrible, but I never think about it. It's very organic.

Can you talk to me a bit about your artistic inspirations? Some of the visuals that have helped you find your practice over the years.

Well, within studying lingerie I was very much drawn to the styles of artists from the '20s. I feel like they were so free with their sexuality, like in the erotica and writing that was coming out at that time. That was definitely the biggest influence when I started, that freedom from coming out of the Victorian era into the flapper girl. I was drawn to that.


Do you have any sort of trepidation around inviting a lot of people to see these deeply personal works?

Yes, I've had a couple breakdowns over it. But I do feel like I'm in a good place now to share it, and works that I always respect and relate to is work that is honest, that is brave. I feel like I'm just gonna go for it and put it out there.

because I love you but you're not here is currently on display at Little Big Man Gallery through May 13. Find out more about Natalie Krim on her website and on Instagram.


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