I’ve always wanted to follow up with some of my Fetish Files interview subjects. I couldn’t think of a better place to start than Mr. Jo Koss, an artist who wields talented hands to bring our kinkiest fantasies to life. (check out part 1)
Can you tell us about your latest project and the inspiration behind it?
Since Tumblr removed all adult content it has been complicated, to say the least. To keep in touch with fans and I lost all the followers I collected over the years. Other platforms tried but they did not manage to keep going, so I started sorting out what I had been working on while I was creating a new site and realized that I had thousands of sketches, illustrations and a lot of them never posted anywhere. I began grouping them in folders, scanning from my sketchbooks, etc. and I tried to find a new place for all these pictures. Then I thought to start printing them in collected books. So right now I have a few lined up that I hope to release before the end of the year.
Has your approach to art stylistically changed since your last book?
I think so. There is always an evolution. Always a different approach to the images but also the use of new tools, pens, brushes etc. You always find something new to work on. I still prefer working in black and white and I probably got faster and more fluid in some techniques. I lean toward erotica these days and I am working with more traditional inking. That is one what I will be doing mainly for one of the upcoming books.
What message or emotions do you hope your readers will take away from your nude artwork?
Pleasure and satisfaction for sure. Many of the works I collected were illustrations commissioned by followers and visitors of my site. I am still getting email where I get asked to portray them in what are actually their secret fantasies. So I suppose they have joy when I deliver the illustrations. A lot of people really like to be rendered as art illustrations and I am planning more work toward that direction. Dedicated, exhibition and such.
What are some of the challenges you faced while bring this latest project to fruition?
As usual there are no publishers anymore. Long gone are the days where one could have found adult comics in the magazine stores and in general books seem to be going toward the end of the road. There is less and less places to display these kind of material. The book business is mainly ruled by distribution and in many situations it almost seems like a monopoly. Meanwhile small publishers struggle to keep going many of them forced to close down. When I started up as a writer for adult comics there were tons of publications around and you basically made a good living back then without having to stress. Besides, we were all doing stuff we liked. So there was a lot of passion into the work as well. You had an audience and a market.
Now it’s more about how far one can reach on his or her own. Adult material on the other hand can’t find its place on social media. It gets censored and removed. One must find alternative sites and often it happens that they close down after a while. For illustrations it’s harder. Most adult sites or communities are for photos and films. The printing is not a big issue but where to display and distribute the final book is. I first tried some small publishers but they were all in a crisis already. I believe I caught a couple of them just before they closed down. When I realized that it wouldn’t have worked, especially during the pandemic where everything got stopped and so not even an exhibition or event could have taken place, I thought I’ll print something on my own. At least I get something done.
For this one I first tried to contact all my old fans and supporters. To reconnect and rebuild my old network and that worked out quite well. I know I need to be more active on social media but to be honest I don’t get the thrill of it as they are now. I wish there could be a little more open mind for adult art and its content but I think it’s just a niche one must get in at the right pace.
Care to walk us through your creative process? Do you start with a concept or let the art flow spontaneously?
It depends on what I am working on. When I did films, I was checking out the trends. One of the producers owned a sex shop so we always knew what was up. I would come up with a series of ideas and we’ll discuss them and how we could produce them. Since I worked with film I learned to use the resources often backwards. First listing what we had and could do and then write the story, adapting to whatever we could do in the shortest time but also within our possibilities.
If I work on a book or a project I usually have a theme or a plan already. So I work on steps. I create checklists. In general, I know where I am going with it. If I have to print then I also have deadlines, therefore I need to be organized in a way … even though I let the inspiration free. So in between, I would come up with stuff in a more spontaneous way. I always tend to save any idea that pops up. Most of the time inspiration strikes when you don’t expect it. Therefore I always have a sketchbook with me if I am on the move or I just give a few moments to note down the idea and produce it on the fly if possible.
I love concepts. Many of my projects are parts of other idea and most importantly concept. I always start something thinking of continuity, that I should carry on the project to another level. I think of possibilities, etc. The only problem is where to display the work in the end? Internet with website, blogs, communities, helps a lot but it has its limitations. I am old school and I still like events, exhibition, conventions, bookstores and such. Some of my old exhibition took place in club privè and erotic festivals. Those were the days.
In today’s society, body positivity and acceptance are important themes. On the other hand, porn is still largely frowned upon. How does your art contribute to this dialogue?
I am not sure how much I do in this context or how much I can do for that matter. Usually we, let’s call us pornographers 😁, are the first to get penalized in this. Our work simply gets removed if someone flags it, and we can’t even discuss about it. But to be realistic, it’s all hypocrisy. Porn is in everything on different levels. Sex is used to sell products. To exploit and promote TV Series, just to make an example. Look how much more sex we have on any popular TV series today. Some of them are built around sex. Barbie is porn and so it’s Disney in the end.
What’s next for you as an artist and author? Do you have any upcoming projects or themes you’d like to explore?
Yes, I might go back to movie but on the other hand I am looking for something different than just doing scenes. I do have a few books coming up, some of them like I said more toward erotica. A couple of novels in the making. I have been collaborating with a brilliant writer, her name is Kylie Jensen and we are doing a book together.
Finally, how can those interested support your latest project?
I wanted to try Kickstarter so I started a campaign to see how it works and I think I am ready to do more projects on this platform.
Thanks for reading and don’t forget to visit Jo Koss online!