I felt that I had to write a letter to this artist who's work I really admired. And she replied! So here it is:
I just wanted to say that I really like a lot of your art and I wanted to give you a different perspective on some of what you've created. I'm a sadist, into bdsm. I teach bdsm 101, put on bdsm parties and organize the bdsm community in my area.
The women that you draw are meant to be strong, powerful women, but what you have painted is what's called a service top. A dominatrix is really just a prostitute. They follow whatever scene a submissive man asks for. They are not dominating these men, they are serving them. They do what they're asked to do, they're paid for their service and they usually don't get anything out of the scene themselves.
I know a lot of dominants who are dominants in their real lives. Their romantic lives, their social lives... it isn't their job, it's their idea of fun. Most of them aren't models or the ideal image of the dominatrix. Very few of them wear leather or latex. Very few of them wear corsets, especially during a scene. None of the ones that I know wear heels. Generally when we play, we play in comfortable clothing, or naked. The reason a dominatrix wears her leather and latex outfit is to please the person who she's serving. It's for their fetish, and their visual pleasure.
Again, I really like a lot of your art, I just thought you might be interested in a different view.
Thanks for getting in touch! I totally understand what you're saying and appreciate you've taken the time to write. I agree with a lot of what you say - a lot of my work is based on feminist writings such as Naomi Wolf's Fire with Fire, and a typical young girl's vision of the ultimate image of power as herself as a 'model'. I've made quite a lot of dominatrix work along the lines you've written below after a lot of research, but for some reason these paintings just didn't work - whether this is because they don't align with the typical vanilla's view of what a dominatrix is (I admit myself that I was equally clueless before my research) or simply because they were less good paintings... either way, I aim to develop these works in the next year. I think the idea of who you're dressing up for is a fasinating subject, everyone's got different opinions on that.
Thanks again for getting in touch Martine. Maybe you'll be willing to assist with my research in due course!