Pop Artist Claudia Chanhoi Visualises Raw Female Sexuality
Hong Kong/ Vibe/ Influencers

Claudia Chanhoi, aka @brainxeyes, Tells a Story About Female Sexuality With Her Cheeky Pop Art

Claudia Chanhoi aka brainxeyes Tells a Story about Female Sexuality With Her Cheeky Pop Art 3

Pink vaginas. Plump bums. Puffy erections. Perky breasts. Protruding labia. Pilose balls.

If you could characterise pop artist Claudia Chanhoi’s body of work, featured on her Instagram handle @brainxeyes with bold pinks, purples, and beiges in shiny pop-art figures of female and male genitalia, one could say it is cheeky or playful, possibly waggish, jolly, and perky, or even vivacious.

Her cartoon-style artwork approaches female sexuality, dating taboos and relationship, and women’s roles in modern society in a loud sexually suggestive manner, to provoke – not shock – a conversation through thoughtful prompts in captions linked to Instagram posts, and appreciation of the female body.

“I am a woman who likes to express how she feels daily, in her dating life, past romantic and sexual experiences, and through conversations with friends and partners,” Claudia tells The Beat Asia in a Zoom interview.

In producing provoking images spanning half a decade since 2016, Claudia admits “she doesn’t want to change the world,” but counters with a real experience of what it means to be female in the face of modern feminism, which has tended to become “super commercialised.”

“A simple slogan can’t change everything,” she adds.

The inspiration of Claudia’s vivacious pink bubble-butts, green studded limp penises, jutting breasts with impossibly perky nipples, and vaginas with symmetrically framed labia lays in academic in situ as part of a research project the artist completed while studying at London College of Communication at the University of the Arts London (UAL).

Enrolling at a local Hong Kong art school at 17, before travelling to London to study graphic and media design, Claudia tasked herself to explore her own sexuality and femme identity in a dissertation research project. As a former Sunday School attendee and child of religious Catholic parents, she sought to write about the sexual ostracization of women, discussing her experiences of dating, approaching female sexuality, and seeing how women’s bodies are traded and seen.

Having been drawing and painting since a very early age, and with her experience at art school, Claudia did not want her academic work and research at UAL to go to waste, and sought to impress her graphic design skills to “recycle” her studies and turn into illustrations.

“I always knew I loved to draw, but believed I would become a graphic designer [at university]. This project opened my eyes a lot, planting a seed in my head that I can do something a bit more different.”

Claudia Chanhoi popart

In 2016, when Claudia began uploading her creations on Instagram, a medium she favours to this day due to its collaborative nature. She conceded that her style matured over time, with her signature colour scheme staying consistent. Her artiste subjects – breasts, bums, penises, and vaginas – have not changed.

The creation of artworks begins as scribbles in Claudia’s sketchbook, a personal Bible for the artist to gather thoughts, jot down captions for think pieces, visualise sketches of cartoon art, and ideate different works. Then, Claudia traces the design onto her laptop, filling in with body pinks, beiges, and browns.

“At that time, when I began the project, I don't think I was trying to shock people or anything. To me, using the breasts or vaginas [in my art] represents women and female sexuality,” she says. She adds that her artwork is “adaptable” when exposed to people in varying spaces.

“My art isn’t that deep,” she admits, a notable urge to motivate others to understand the root meaning behind her pieces and spark an emotional conversation about female bodies and sex. "I like reading what people write about my art more than I like to describe it.”

Her use of professional artist pseudonym “brainxeyes” is an effort to create art that refrains from being too simplistic and suggestive, but requires “brain work” to deconstruct the innate meaning, whilst also maintaining its “visual appeal.” “I don’t want to draw body parts just for fun or to shock people.”

Censorship and critical reception are something Claudia has had to deal with in producing and exposing her art online and in Hong Kong spaces, a city traditional with its views on sexuality and feminism. “Clients have asked me not to include any [genitalia] in my commissioned art, sometimes turning projects down due to complaints about the presence of body parts in my art.”

“Is it because when we think about body parts, we have shame? Is sex dirty? Is it super vulgar or something private? I wanted to look into this matter, because I find it fascinating to me. We actively try to censor our body parts just because we believe they are shameful or associated with sex.”

“People who attend my shows find it delightful to look at my work, but sometimes it’s a weird vibe. Hong Kong women are strong, but still refrain from chatting about their sexuality.”

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