Warning: This post contains some very surreal nudity and may not be suitable for work.
Allow me to set a scene. You and a very special someone (or two, or three!) are hot for each other. You're giving off the vibes, feeling the heat, getting all the tingles in all the places. Things get physical and the world fades out of focus. Limbs become entwined, bodies melt into one another. All the sudden, your eyeballs are bulging out of your head, you've sprouted a beak and your tongue is the size of a fruit rollup. Did I lose you?
Guadalajara, Mexico-based artist Mario Maplé creates detailed ink drawings of erotic rendezvous so hardcore they induce literal metamorphosis. The series is titled "Canícula" -- loosely translated to "heatwave" in Spanish, referencing the hottest summer days of the year. "I’m exploring ideas of sexuality, erotism and human behavior," Maplé explained to The Huffington Post. "How we transform, morph and dissolve into hybrids."
In Maplé's sexually heightened states, humans can mutate into something animalistic, cartoonish and grotesque. The images imagine the most bizarre aspects of the intimate practices most often "hidden in the dark of a motel room, a club or our own bedrooms."
"I started drawing [when] I was a little kid, it's hard to remember a time of my life without drawing," Maplé told The Huffington Post. But it wasn't until high school when he began to develop a style of his own. "I started to draw characters that weren't people nor monsters but something in between." He then moved beyond doodling in notebooks to experimenting with posters, stickers and mural painting.
Growing up, Maplé was inspired by cartoon classics like "Looney Tunes," "The Simpsons," "Ren & Stimpy" and "Spongebob Squarepants." Cartoonist John Kricfalusi, he said, is still one of his biggest inspirations today. As a teenager, Maplé also incorporated the imagery of skate culture into his aesthetic, spending hours poring over the Thrasher magazines his dad would bring from Mexico to the U.S.
As Maplé reached adulthood, he found another source of inspiration: porn. Erotica, magazines and movies worked too. "I like a position that seems kind of sculptural, acrobatic or full of tensions," he said.
To create a piece, Maplé begins with a graphite rough sketch, first carefully composing the relationship between the figures. Then he adds the details inspired by animals, cartoons, monsters and whatever else, turning the figures into category-jamming creatures. He then begins the inking process which, using a ballpoint pen, is an incredibly slow and painstaking process. "Most of the time it looks and feels like you're not actually drawing, since the tones might not be recognized at first, but layer after layer, shapes and volumes start to take its place."
The resulting images are both magnetic and off-putting, as intimate and alien as sex itself. "I'm interested in keeping that link with realism and photography, to provoke a feeling of shock in the viewer, a space between beauty and discomfort."
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