Saturday, March 15, 2008

My Days at a Sex Magazine

In the early 80s I worked at a lesbian sex magazine called
On Our Backs.
It was pretty
revolutionary at the time but looking back - it was cheesy! We put it together - put it to bed, so to speak! - in the front room of an old Victorian house in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco.
Back then I was just starting out as a graphic artist and lesbian so I thought this was a great little place
to be. Whenever I am the only graphic artist on-site, I like to call myself the Art Department! And so, for 4 issues in a row, I decided that I would do myself the honor of creating the covers for the magazine. Here are 3 of them.
I worked there with three women, one of whom was Lesbian Sexpert Susie Bright, who has gone on to fame and fortune indeed.

N
ow, during my time there I also did a lot of illustrations for the stories in the magazine. This led me to be contacted several times by people from across the country to contract me to draw pictures for them. Sexually explicit pictures, of course. Now, really, I was a pretty nice and naive girl back then - sex magazine designer aside. But when one guy from Denver wanted me to draw some "spanking" illustrations, I got suspicious and turned him down. Those early-80s days were the beginnings of the resurgence of intensely conservative beliefs and laws in this country. I could just picture myself drawing those pictures, sending them to him and then being arrested for using the US Mail to send pornography. So I turned him down.
But, another man contacted me who lived in San Francisco. We talked on the phone and he seemed harmless enough so we met and he laid out his ideas of what he wanted me to draw. He was very explicit in what he wanted and brought examples to show me too. Here are two of the examples that I can show here.
In front of me sat an delicate, slender, frail, effeminate man, wearing glasses and having dark hair. Well, lo and behold, he wanted me to draw some pictures of "a delicate, slender, frail, effeminate man, wearing glasses and having dark hair" in positions of servitude to older, cruelly domineering lesbians. Sheesh! I was, like, um, er, I don't know....but when he slapped $300 on the table I said I'd have them done in a month. I finished them and called him several times but he never came to pick them up. So I still have them. This subject matter didn't appeal to me so I didn't do a very good job on the drawings. Here is the one of the three that is fit to show in public. Ah, memories of a misspent youth!

3 comments:

Susie Bright said...

Kim, I love seeing those old OOB covers, and finding you again! They still look as startling and inspiring as the day you did them. I didn't know you had people calling you up, but it sure makes sense.

xo

susie

Stacy Alexander said...

Great stuff, as always, Kim.

S.

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