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Meet The Erotic Artist Bringing Psychedelic Sex To Instagram

Huffingtonpost.com.au March 2016

Priscilla Frank

A Bay Area artist who goes by the name of Alphachanneling has transformed his Instagram feed into a lush erotic jungle, teeming with vines, petals, bodies, leaves, flesh, and other all natural pleasures.

I've been following Alphachanneling for a while now. I love to get lost in the psychedelic wilds where bodies go to play and touch and engage in extreme, sometimes divine, pleasure. Until recently, I assumed the artist was a woman, probably due to the softness of the images, the way they buzz with goddess magic.

But alas, Alphachanneling is a dude. When I expressed my surprise to him, he seemed amused and altogether pleased. "That’s a good sign for me," the artist, who prefers to keep his given name under wraps. "I'm not deliberately avoiding a male-centric or masculine expression, I'm just making the things I haven't been able to find in terms of the eroticism out there."

Alphachanneling's works, from far away, look almost like children's book illustrations, their spring palette and breezy lines conjuring a magical realm just outside the everyday. Look closer, however, and you'll notice a couple sixty-nining, or a man eating out a giant flower, or a lady gently perched atop her lover's face. There is no shame in this garden of earthly delights, only lotus-love and good vibrations.

For the artist, the key to finding his enchanted pleasure dome is striking a balance between high and low -- the sacred and the profane -- without any sense of embarrassment. "I feel like there is shame in having spiritual experiences," Alphachanneling said. "It’s something that most people want to stay private about or even censor themselves from completely. By the same token there is a shame to the base desires that don’t seem socially acceptable. You know, fucking. I like this idea of combining the two -- equally accepting both and celebrating them."

"Fundamentally what I think is for anyone to be attracted to something is a result of being activated, being in tune with it, being open to themselves and who they are. It’s a really important feeling," he added. Much of Alphachanneling's work is inspired by Taoist tradition, in which expressing sexuality is believed to be a sign of being un touch with the divine.

Citing his other influences, Alphachanneling mentions indigenous art, Robert Crumb's drawings, BDSM and Federico Fellini's dream journals. "He documented his dreams every day. It feels like children’s art, so immediate and almost urgent. He just had to get the thing out on paper. I identify with that -- I don’t care to make it beautiful, I just need to get it on paper. It's a way of bringing out these inner realms, and there is a rawness that happens. Children’s art -- a lot of it doesn’t always make sense but you can sense it’s direct from that world of experience and impression. They're vessels for a larger meaning. A way of opening up the viewer to a certain kind of energy."

Not too surprisingly, Alphachanneling describes his own art process as a sort of channeling -- tuning into a higher frequency outside the noise of day-to-day life. Each work takes about three or four hours to complete, but the artist only expects three to four seconds of your time as a viewer. That's why Instagram, thus far, has proved such a fruitful platform. "They can speak in a short burst and leave an impression," he explained. "I got that idea from Keith Haring. Where we are culturally, there is just too much to take in, it’s nice to be able to digest something so quickly."

Instagram is somewhat of an ironic platform, given its notorious censorship policy, to display erotic content. But Alphachanneling has made peace with this idiosyncrasy of the stage as well. "I’m aware that what I’m making could disappear any second. It’s a weird feeling to be on that edge -- like my work is a sandcastle that any minute a wave could pull down. But I like the feeling that I'm creating a stream of ideas and a stream of communication. There's this continuity, this energy."

Despite his burning love for Instagram, Alphachanneling is taking his work to the gallery space for his first solo exhibition at Jack Hanley Gallery in New York. His work will be on view from March 17 to April 17, 2016. 

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