On Friday, June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court voted to strike down Roe v. Wade, effectively endangering the lives of women around the country. Following the ruling, MakersPlace launched O(v.)erturned, a month-long exhibition for women’s rights featuring female artists championing the bodily autonomy and freedom of choice every woman deserves.
In addition to showcasing their art, MakersPlace is also hosting a number of Twitter Spaces to hold intimate conversations with some of the artists featured in O(v.)erturned.
Katy Arrington is one of this month’s featured artists. In a conversation with Aisha Arif, MakersPlace’s community marketing lead, Arrington lays out the idea behind “Have Everything You Want Point,” her featured work in O(v.)erturned. Arrington also discusses her upcoming project, “Love Lost Dolls,” which comments on bodily autonomy and empowerment in the sex work industry.
AA: Next, can we hear from perhaps the amazing Katie Arrington, who is an awesome artist and definitely an OG?
KA: I’ll talk a little bit about the artwork that I have that’s in this exhibition, and then I would also love to talk about the project that I’m working on right now. It really relates to what’s happening in the U.S. right now. But first, let’s talk about “Have Everything You Want Point.” So I have a pinned tweet, I think it’s like the third to last one, and it has a series of paintings of a bunch of dead girls in very pretty environments. And it’s the bottom right one, the yellow one that is being exhibited.
Essentially, the idea behind this painting — and this series of paintings — is that it’s a representation of a time in my life where I had everything that you would think would make you happy, but I felt dead inside. I’m a little dramatic.
With “Everything You Want Point,” [it was meant to represent when] I had funds, I had money in my life, but I was struggling mentally and emotionally. Is it okay if I now talk about “Love Lost Dolls?”
Q: Yes, please do. I’m super excited for people to learn about this project. It’s probably one of my favorite collections.
Love Lost Dolls is my generative art project, and the story behind [the dolls] is that they are sex workers. They live in this Love, Lust, Love, Loss Club, and they’re these empowered, really badass women who really own their sexuality, love themselves, and are confident in themselves. They choose what they do with their body.
This is why I really wanted to talk about [this project], especially in relation to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, because I think there’s such a problem when somebody tries to take away choice.
I feel like sex work can be extremely empowering, extremely amazing, extremely healing and then on the dark side, the other side, it can be very demeaning. It can be very traumatizing to do that kind of work.
From my observation, the biggest difference [that] creates one side or the other is this idea of when you choose to do it, that is what brings that power versus when you’re forced or coerced into it. I’m all about giving people choice and having the confidence to make a choice. And so, this is why I really am very passionate about this project, because I’m all about wanting people to be supported instead of stigmatized. That’s my Love Lost Dolls, and we are minting now. We’re also partnering with a sex work charity here in Indonesia, where I live.
Q: I think that it’s so important, what you’re doing: Calling attention to and supporting, but I think also just educating people. I feel like around the world, people have these stigmas or fears about sexuality and sex work, and I think we need people to address that these are people we need to support, uplift and celebrate. Throughout your artwork, you’ve always done an amazing job of doing so. It’s incredible that you have this collection that’s dedicated to that and, and literally supporting it.