Pratt BFA Communications Design Thesis

Allison Keenan Illustration

TABOO: An Illustrated Glance into the Curious History
of Pornography, Erotica, and Sex Work

Fine Art
Me Too
Sex Work
Social Advocacy
Social Media

Erotica is a lost art form, something once considered so highly by some ancient cultures and religions as a celebratory representation of a sacred act. It was used to delight, to educate, to show praise, and even as decoration. Sexual depictions initially were not something to be hidden or confined to seedy corners of adult stores illuminated by a black light. Sex work is viewed much the same way; at times it has been legally tolerated, and at times it has been punishable by death. Even with the changes to its legality and how sex services have been delivered, it has never disappeared, and likely never will.

The more we attempt to lock away such things we collectively fear or loathe, the more it becomes something of a mystery to us. It becomes unknown and strange, and only pushes efforts underground, or makes it more dangerous.

I implore readers not to take a specific, rigid side in things, but instead to view sexuality shown in this way through a more empathetic and fluid way. You do not have to be a sex worker, an adult actor, a pervert, hedonist, or even a person who has sex at all to understand and/or enjoy this book. You simply must have empathy and critical thinking skills.