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[NSFW] ColorOrgy Hijacks Gender Norms With Cheeky Pastel Illustrations

The Arizona artist uses bright colors and kitsch to masque an otherwise subversive agenda.

Catherine Chapman

Images courtesy the artist.

This article originally appeared on Creators.

A cactus in front of a blazing sunset, with hints of an infinite gorge or waterless desert, are the typical tropes that appear in Southwest American art. But for Phoenix, AZ-based artist ColorOrgy, bright pastels and precise lines take on a different stereotype, through works that put a satirical twist on gender norms and sexuality.

"American culture, mass media, idealization of what life is supposed to be, whatever you want to call it," ColorOrgy tells Creators. "I've definitely pushed my work more towards women and their roles in society. I've always found females to be more interesting."

Study for Nature vs Nuture

ColorOrgy, known outside of the art world as Scott Wolf, has been evolving his practice over the last ten years. He derives inspiration from American pop artist Roy Lichtenstein and focuses on the portrayal and sexual objectification of both women and children found in the majority of images digested by Western culture.

Eat, Drink, and Be Married

In the piece Eat, Drink and Be Married, ColorOrgy depicts two women standing in front of a man and boy seated on a sofa in a 1950s-like setting. Another woman giggles, off to the side, as the two standing women undress, one slicing off a piece of her own backend. She's all smiles, as though serving herself for dinner is her idea of domestic bliss. Pastel pink and greens somehow nearly normalize the otherwise eerie setting.

"To me, it's an obvious satire of the typical roles of women," explains ColorOrgy. "I think a lot of the stuff that I've done can be misconstrued as misogynistic, saying that I've objectified women, but if you look past the surface, I'm usually saying something. I think, for the most part, people get it."

Not all of ColorOrgy's work includes a deep critique of society's ruling definition of what it means to be feminine. Other pieces play with the the female form, creating characters or scenes borrowed from mid-century advertising and children's book aesthetics.

Carry the Stress in the Jaw

"Everything that I do is very precisely laid out, drawn, and colored on the computer," says ColorOrgy, noting that earlier work was much more free spirited. "I get a lot of satisfaction from the cleanliness and the detail that I can achieve there."

Once satisfied, ColorOrgy creates stencils from the designs, layering color on to custom cut wood panels in various shapes, so that the image appears as a free floating shape on a wall. Having previously only used spray paint in designs, where few colors were available, ColorOrgy now employs predominately brush methods, achieving a smooth finish with a spray gun.

"I think it makes it look more like a product, like some sort of mass produced object," says ColorOrgy. "I think I've always been interested in that."

Traditionally known as a politically conservative state, Arizona seems like an unlikely place to produce gender equality seeking art, yet ColorOrgy's work changes multiple narratives, making images that get others to look past commonly accepted notions, through the use of lots of pink.

"I couldn't imagine being a woman in this day and age," says ColorOrgy. "I think there's a lot of great things happening, but I think that there's a lot of things that are not very cool."

Cold Comfort

See more of ColorOrgy's work and follow the artist on Instagram, .
here here

All year, we're highlighting 50 States of Art projects around the United States.