Rebeca Soto is a young Chicana illustrator whose often explicit erotica provokes an authentic experience of female sexuality. Explore what happens when Catholic imagery gets a coital realignment in Chicago’s underground queer art scene.
HUSTLER: What are your first memories involving art?
REBECA SOTO: In my childhood home we would make crafts with crayons and collage or paint terracotta flowerpots for the garden. I’ve been creating all my life. Whether it was Lisa Frank coloring books or tours of the National Museum of Mexican Art, my childhood was filled with color.
Has your heritage become a part of your technique?
Aside from the color palette and floral textures in my artwork, I lead my practice with a mission of centering on queer brown pleasure. I see myself and other womxn I know in the figures I make. A big part of my Latinx identity is the act of braiding hair, which is a recurring theme that references my culture and a functional routine. But the braids can also reference bondage and intimacy rituals.
When did your artwork first embrace erotic themes?
I started to consciously create erotic art in my first year of undergrad studies at Columbia College, but I have memories of drawing sensual nude figures in my childhood too.
In grade school I was visiting my friend’s house. She led me to her basement bathroom to show me a stash of her dad’s dirty comics under the sink. This was my first introduction to erotic illustration. We read these little books in secret and even tried recreating some drawings. I guess I had fun, since I picked it back up later in my young adulthood.