The English feminist-illustrator and sculptor you're about to buy from and redecorate your entire apartment with.
One of Venus Libido’s most notable illustrations shows a woman with an unapologetic, fed-up look on her face, pressing her red polished fingertip on a blender containing penises.
Even our Holy Lord of Everything Rihanna posted the piece on her Instagram story back on March 8 with the caption, “International Women’s Day.” Amen to that, RiRi.
With blasts of off-pastels and sprinkles of bright shades, Venus’ work grabs your gaze and lets you know this is her art. She draws her inspiration from herself (no pun intended) in her art. Her work is involves deep societal effects of misogyny and the patriarchy, as well as combatting her own mental health issues. She exhibits both the perfectly crafted social media posts women present, but also depicts the not-so-glamorous behind the scenes women don’t showcase on the daily: standing in the shower tracing various stomach rolls, sliding the razor up and down to get rid of copious amounts of body hair and (one that hits home personally) sitting on the floor binging Babybel cheese. OK, official relatable content.
The 26-year-old London/South England based artist birthed Venus Libido after her second suicide attempt, and needed a creative outlet to express her experiences working with men where she felt she wasn’t seen as an equal.
Before creating her pseudonym, she went to university and studied sculpture (you can buy dick and vulva pendants she made on her website!). After graduating, she moved to London and did numerous jobs with different artists, and for three years after being underpaid as a woman and experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace, she finally had enough. She moved back home to Southampton, Hampshire in England and found a hidden talent for drawing.
“I was so frustrated by the way I was spoken to by men I would just walk out the door, and I’d have a guy come up to me and try to talk to me or make me feel uncomfortable,” Venus says. “It got to the point where it’s [like], ‘I’m just gonna put your dick in a blender!’”
With 76,600 Instagram followers and counting, she didn’t expect her work to get so popular. Originally, she invented Venus Libido solely for the purpose of her own individual needs, but once she started posting her work online, she found she was helping others with what she struggled with herself.
“Even if I didn’t sell my work, or people didn’t hire me to draw, I would still always [draw] for the fact that even just that one comment, ‘This has really helped me through my depression’ or ‘This has made me laugh when I’ve had such a shit day’ like I will always do it for that,” she says.
Her drawings hold unflinching honesty, especially when it comes down to illustrations of women that aren’t depicted much in our society as women. We are not always shown with body hair or sitting in unflattering positions where our waists don’t look “snatched.” This is why Venus’ work, as well as herself, is so captivating, memorable and inspiring because her art intersects the realms of both feminism and mental health.
“The way you look should not depict how you should feel [or] the way people should see you,” she says. “I think it was really important for me to share that aspect because that is me. I am a woman with rolls, I am a woman with hair.”
With many artists, creating can be exhausting, especially dealing with depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. At times it’s discouraging, but Venus knows how to cope, whether that means reaching out to talk to somebody or simply lock herself in her room for the day.
“[If] I’m having a bad day [and] I’m aware that I’m having a bad day, am I going to allow myself to have that bad day?” she says. “Right before I feel guilty, why am I having a bad day? But we need to remember that we can’t all be positive every single day of our lives. And some days, that creativity isn’t there, and that extra strength to keep going or get up and go to work isn’t always there, and that’s OK.”
Maybe that’s the secret to being such a successful artist, is knowing how to maintain an even keel mind. Being self-aware of your limits, making sure you’re kind to yourself and your heart and being conscious when to step back into the creating process is key; and no one seems to know that better than Venus.
“Some days, I’ll go weeks and weeks and won’t draw anything. And then I feel guilty, but then I say, no, I should not feel guilty. I started Venus Libido for me. That was what it was from the beginning and that’s where it should always be.”
Shop all things Venus Libido at venuslibido.bigcartel.com