By T.M. Bernard
I met Debi Oulu through a mutual contact, and when she invited me to her latest exhibit, I eagerly agreed. Married with three children, in that ambiguous space just past youth and on first appearances living a conventional life, just what was this Tel Aviv suburbanite doing in her studio to create such a fuss in certain art circles? I simply had to find out for myself.
Turns out that this mom-next-door artist was exploring her fascination with the flaccid penis, one homage-paying sculpture/lollipop/video art at a time.
Erotica most often involves naked female forms. When males are included in the mix, they usually fall under the auspices of homoerotic art or as part of a heterosexual couple. And our eyes are often drawn to his erect member. It’s all about the angles, his sex wand, and overt sexualized masculinity. There’s plenty of masculinity in Debi’s art, and plenty of humor and femininity too, as her recently released erotic video reveals.
What differentiates this artist, however, is her compassion and care for the soft cock. After all, every aspect of a man, every part of his body, is worthy of reverence, including the non-erect phallus.
We recently spoke about her craft, the advice she gives to her volunteers before she takes a mold, why older men are sexier, and what it is that she likes so much about her, um, subjects.
What’s it like to take a mold of a man’s penis?
Well, the hard part (pun intended) is to do the mold while the penis remains flaccid!
If I take a cast of a man, it is because he wants to (I have no lack of volunteers by the way), and therefore there is no shame. I am a very open person and people seem very comfortable being themselves when they are with me. There are always lots of laughs! Since I am in a monogamist relationship with my partner, and I am very clear about that, there is not any confusion.
If I need to take a cast of a mans penis in a flaccid state, I recommend he masturbates before hand, and the problem is usually solved. Again, I think when people are open about their sexuality, and comfortable with it, life is much more comfortable and pleasant.
Tell me about the men in the video. Tell me how you get your subjects?
The first man in the video to appear is my husband, after that are male friends of mine (one rides a Harley, another was my first art instructor, another my music buddy) – I like that they are all a bit older men and with character – not your typical young model type of guy – in my opinion these guys are far more sexy.
Why the phallus and not the vulva? As a woman, people might assume you’d be more inclined to go with the parts you have…
I too find it interesting that I found myself making penis sculptures again and again – it was then that I decided to investigate this further and to create a series of pieces called, ”My Penis and I” Most of my recent work is an exploration of this subject.
I look at the penis as an extension of myself. While physically separate from my body, it is very much an essential part of my life in so many different levels. My feelings toward the penis change many times at any given time of the day. Yet at the same time, it is most defiantly male and probably the most central part of who they are. I find this whole subject fascinating. In regards to the vulva, I guess since it is such an integral part of me as much as my eyes and my hands and my nose, I don’t really question its existence, it simply ”is”.
My life is so conventional…the only difference is that I put out for everyone to see, in plain view, my inner thoughts and views on sexuality. Most people feel this is a private matter, and thus tend to not deal with their own issues regarding their sexuality. I think if we would all just put our sexuality out on the kitchen counter, we will all see that we are not so different from each other, and variants of the same thing are quite common. We can then begin to accept our sexuality and ourselves more fully.
Discuss more with me your interest in showing the non-erect and erect penis.
I find there is a certain vulnerability in the flaccid penis. Also it is the most natural state for it to be in. And the opposite, erect penis is so clear in its message and meaning, that I find it less interesting a subject (although there are times when an erect penis is just what my sculptures need).
In your opinion, why are so many cultures interest in phallic symbols?
It’s funny that you mention phallic symbols – because whenever I think of phallic symbols in our society and throughout history, it’s always of the erect penis. Kinda puts a lot of pressure on men, and a bit over expectation by women.