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Illustrating XConfessions: Interview with Apollonia Saintclair

This interview is part of the collaborators section in XConfessions


Mysterious Apollonia Saintclair has been featured in probably every magazine about illustration or erotica (or both) that exists out there. But still, we don’t know much about her – she’s very private and discrete and we’ve never seen her face anywhere online.


She’s truly an unique artist. Her standard-shifting works show powerful women in the center of wicked sceneries while leaving room for wide interpretations. The illustrations of Apollonia captivate with versatility, variety and a very special atmosphere. She’s been collaborating with XConfessions for over a year now, fitting perfectly with the most creative erotic stories sent by the users.


She agreed on talking to us about her work, style and future plans, making us admire her even more. Read the interview:


Apollonia_tumblr_nxb7qua4Ms1rojfyfo1_1280 Apollonia_tumblr_mxt68q90p61rojfyfo1_1280 Apollonia_tumblr_mu1sc8VOM71rojfyfo1_1280


➢ Apollonia Saintclair is all about pleasure. You once said, that your personal idea of pleasure is the “unspeakable and intimate vibration of feeling alive”, which is an enlightening and perfect description for any kind of arousing stimulation. 
Can you explain a situation, when this vibration occurs?  

Well, you only mentioned half of what I said: pleasure is an endorphin discharge caused by a combination of physical and cultural stimuli … and the unspeakable and intimate vibration of feeling alive. This only means that we are animals, who have discovered the symbolic field. Physical stimulation of a part of your anatomy is a basic pleasure, but this is nothing compared to the satisfaction that you can experience when combined with an idea, with a representation, with a fantasy. The brain is the biggest erogenous zone. Sex is probably one of the rare occasion when body, mind and soul are synchronised: that moment when you feel to exist simultaneously on all levels.


“Someone asked me lately if I’m turned on by my drawings and if I like to turn people on. That’s maybe a nice collateral but not the point. My known work is mainly erotica, but it’s not exclusively about sex”



What is your simplest source of inspiration, artistically and sexually?

I believe that every drawing is born basically from a visual inspiration. Before telling a story with its protagonists and its context, there is the intuition of an arrangement of lines, dots and black and white surfaces. The more I draw, the more it becomes an implicit code where graphic elements have a meaning that goes beyond their visual effect. A curve is sensual or violent or shy… a surface is hot or intimate or aggressive. This may sound a bit cryptic, but it is a way to explain that when I think of a drawing, I do not immediately think of a specific situation, but rather I imagine the feelings it arouses in me and that I try to bring to picture. Someone asked me lately if I’m turned on by my drawings and if I like to turn people on. That’s maybe a nice collateral but not the point. My known work is mainly erotica but it’s not – by far – exclusively about sex. I’m interested in creating strong emotions, a very broad set of emotions. Erotica is just a interesting vantage point from where you can paint a different view of the world at large. You can depict people struggling with the whole bandwith of their life.


➢ You draw mainly digital. Even if your themes are often very modern, for me your art has this sinister medieval, mysterious and nostalgic touch. Can you identify with the age of social media? Some of its aspects like exposure, dependence and a need for recognition seem to play a major role in your work.

Black and white ink is an abstraction. It’s a way to say more with less. I guess that’s my reaction to the hyperrealism of digital medias. The best augmented reality is the one you produce with your mind. I do not wish to appear vintage or even nostalgic, I just think that pictures are mainly created in the brain of the viewer, and that abstraction is a very mighty way to engineer images that are much stronger than the bare pixels surface. I believe that in your imagination black blood is just more red. This age of the world is certainly very interesting since digitalization redefines completely our relation to life and to each other. I don’t know if I would have been so productive in another time. I feel very well here and now because there is so much to explore, so many new demons and wonders.


According to the statement that you want your art being in the foreground instead of yourself and the desire to get closer to Apollonia Saintclair – can you show us an image (without any words or explanation), which you can actually identify with both as a person and an artist?

Man Ray’s Noire et Blanche, 1918 (and almost everything Man Ray ever did btw…)


Noire et Blanche, 1926 Photo de Man Ray
Noire et Blanche. Man Ray

All the work you’re publishing is femininity-centric.  Is this your ultimate subject? 

Ultimate may be too strong, but it is a very rewarding subject. For a long time – and still today – men used to occupy in western culture the center of the stage. Look at the Bible or Greek mythology by example: even if there some good roles for women, it is almost always the men who are the narrative engines. Giving women the most important role allows me to discover new fields interpretations, new combinations, new stories. I certainly love to reverse the situation because it creates moments of revelation. I am interested in my contemporaries and of course to contemporary women who have learned to evade traditional canons of femininity and to explore new ways of being a woman. But this does not mean that men are degraded either. They are just a bit less visible as usually, but they are here. We need them, don’t we?


“Giving women the most important role allows me to discover new fields interpretations, new combinations, new stories”


➢ Due to your affinity to literature writing a comic or an illustrated novel suggests itself. Based on this possibility: Would you release non-visual art also under your alias Apollonia Saintclair?

I’ve been thinking and imagining about it very hard for a very long time – even longer than my public drawing activity. However that means having enough time and resources that I haven’t got, yet. In fact until now I’ve been stealing moments every night to draw, working in short bursts. The inner pressure to go for a novel is rising hugely tough… Maybe I’m just waiting for some emotional trigger to start this journey.


➢ I suppose you’re working full time on your art. How does it feel getting completely absorbed in something? It seems that you already know that drawing is your destiny.

You may not believe it, but drawing is my nightjob… I have a dayjob which feeds me, and I don’t see this changing soon. But I also have to admit that my mind is more and more, even in the daylight, by my drawing work… The future will tell if that is a very intense fling or my destiny.


➢ Did you ever find a good visual representation of an orgasm? If so, can you share it with us?

There are of course many, but the ones that are most interesting are those you discover in unexpected places… For example in the Ecstasy of St. Teresa by Bernini in Rome.


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