Venus Libido burns down the patriarchy one dick candle at a time
A few weeks ago, dicks were following me everywhere. And that’s not just a metaphor because I’m a woman. There seemed to be a common theme of dick-shaped things entering my newsfeeds online. I'm not sure where it came from (I hadn't been Googling dicks, I'm sure of it), however I never envisioned my seemingly algorithmic journey would lead me to Venus Libido, a talented artist from the UK whose illustrations cover topics such as mental health, technology, feminism and being a woman.
She also happens to have mastered the dick candle.
Rooster Magazine: We got to know your Instagram pretty well and it’s really amazing to see the evolution of your work. You went from creating illustrations that were self portraits depicting your mental health and struggles you face as a woman, to making jewelry/pendents of vaginas, to now your insanely detailed dick candles. Can you pinpoint the moment it went from being art to being a career/movement?
Venus Libido: Oh God, this is always a hard question to answer because it doesn’t really have a set beginning to me. It has always been my practice from the moment I started further education, it's just now people know about it. I love that people see my work as a movement, though as for me it's just my way of dealing with my emotions. I'm just so happy that people can look at my work and feel like it helps them in some way or another.
R: You post about topics that have not always been discussed openly or that have been labeled taboo in the past. When you first started illustrating these topics, did you have any doubts or second thoughts about sharing them on the interwebs?
V: No not really to be honest. When I first started posting things online, especially the more taboo stuff, I really didn’t care. I was in a really shit place in my life and nothing could affect me more than those feelings. However, now I do take a step back and think 'oooo is that alright to post?' But that's just because of Internet trolls. There comments aren’t always worth the post.
R: Can you tell us more about the dick candles?
V: I have a degree in sculpture so I really wanted to do something 3D. Then I looked back at my degree show work, which consisted of loads of dick sculptures, and thought, 'I know, I'll make more dicks.' I guess I just had a brain wave and thought hmmm dicks, candles, burning the dicks, burning down the patriarchy! Also (I named them) ‘dicks’ because we aren’t burning down all men, just the dickhead ones.
R: All artists can share at least one funny fail story when they are trying out a new style or starting a new project. Got any behind your candles?
V: Only that the ladies at the post office asked me one day what was I always posting as they were intrigued. When I had to say out loud to them with a line of people behind me that they were dick candles, they burst out laughing.
R: There's one comment on your Instagram about uncircumcised representation. Any future plans to incorporate that diversity into your candles?
V: Yeah when I get some time to work on them again, I really want to create a whole new range of shapes and sizes.
R: It’s weird that some of the things that have the ability to harm us mentally (and some would say physically) such as technology, the internet, social media, etc. are actually really good for art. What are your thoughts on this?
V: Yeah I agree. It is a fascinating concept to me that although social media is great for a lot of things, including being able to share art conveniently, it also has a very negative affect on our mental heath. Most days I wake up and wish that social media didn’t exist for the reasons that cause me to draw the things I do. I think it comes down to way in which people abuse it for profit or for their own selfish needs. I also hate that this is now my way of creating a living for myself. I'm just the type of person who would love to live in the forest in beautiful cabin with no phone and my dog doing nothing but self-care and relaxation — but that doesn’t put food on the table and I’m in no position for that to be my full time job.
R: As your online presence has grown, do you find that some individuals bully, send hate mail or dick pics just to be made into art by you? How do you handle the haters?
V: Yeah, I get nasty message,s but only because people misinterpret my work for something that it's not. Art is subjective and you have to be prepared for the positive and negative, but when people straight up call me nasty abusive names ... BLOCK ... It's not healthy to even to think twice about it.
R: Eye color plays a role in your illustrations. Sometimes the eyes are natural blues, greens, browns — but from time to time I see that they are red. What’s the significance here?
V: Oh I love that you picked up on that. You know at first, I didn’t realise I was doing it until a client asked me not to do red eyes. But what I noticed is they have red eyes on days when I draw out of anger or sadness.
R: ‘Fuck the System’ seems like a tagline/motto/catchphrase as well as a movement, too. It’s in your illustrations, your captions, and on bags and t-shirts. What does it mean to you?
V: Fuck the system means putting a middle finger up to being told what should and shouldn’t be expected of us, especially as women. For so long I thought I had to be quiet and do as I was told because that is the system we must adhere to, and that is what is expected of me. Whether it be personal or political, whether it be something mentally or physically, if it doesn’t feel right then you should not have to follow it.
R: You had your first solo show last year. Any big plans coming up?
V: I have a book coming out!!!! Watch this space.
R: Famous last words:
V: Where the wine at?
QUICK SHOTS w/ VENUS LIBIDO
Name: Venus Libido .
City you're based in: Hampshire/London.
What day of the week is it? Frid- Yayyyy.
Any dietary restrictions? No meat please.
A nonprofit we should know about: Woman of power UK.
Favorite wax color for your dick candles: Black.
If your illustrations had their own show, what would the title be? Babes with Bellies.
Weirdest DM you’ve ever received: "So you love dick right?"
Name a love/hate relationship you currently have: Myself.