By Julian Wolf
Darla Hallmark might not be a name that you’re familiar with, but if you’ve been in the kink/Leather/Fetish scene for a few years or read fantasy, you’ve likely seen her work. She has supported regional titleholders by painting/drawing their portraits and putting the image on art magnets (to be sold for travel funds) and has allowed her images to be used on lifestyle websites, notably “Kitty Bondage” on the Pantheon Award Winning club Alternative Erotic Lifestyles’ site. Additionally, you can purchase her sculpture, prints, buttons and more at everything from BDSM conventions to Bubonicon, New Mexico’s long running literary science fiction convention, where her art is featured yearly in the program. A woman of many mediums, Darla works with a myriad of materials ranging from old romance novels to sculpting clay as well as being a master of the classics- teaching classes on figure drawing and working with canvas and paints. For years she’s functioned as one stop shopping for Albuquerque residents. Need a pair of horns for that costume, a antique poster mounted for your living room, a framed landscape photograph for your mother in law and a set of naughty fantasy elves getting it on for your gaming group? Give Darla a call, she’s got what you need, handmade and ready to go. Darla agreed, on short notice, to be interviewed for Fearless Press, and I’m delighted to feature her.
How long have you been creating art that features the kinkier side of life?
“Since before I knew what “kinky” was. I was always attracted to imagery that stirred my un-recognized fetishes. I drew fairies stuck in honey and pixies tangled in spider webs way before I had even heard of bondage fantasies. So, I guess it would be fair to say I have been drawing kinky stuff since I was a child.”
You are the owner/operator of the Unseen Gallery. How did you decide on that name?
I wanted a name that showed the conflict between my desire to show and sell my work, and my lifelong problems with Agoraphobia. I considered several possible words meaning “hidden” or “secret” and this seemed best.
Eyegasm is a traveling art show that has made appearances at Rio Grande Leather and more- How did Eyegasm get its start and what is its future?
“It’s an idea I had to help artists who do erotic artwork have a place to show their work. I have done several Eyegasm shows, but I took last year off, having a lot of other things going on. I hope to get another show going next year, perhaps in the summer. I base the format of the show on trade shows I have shown at, which make it easy for both artists and collectors to take part. Entry fees are nominal, and artists are not required to be present.
I will need to re-assemble my crew, and find a venue.”
What inspired your series of coloring books?
“Lousy coloring books. Even as a child I was frustrated by coloring books that were too simple-minded. They are insulting to any reasonably intelligent child. Get your kids something that’s challenging! It’s not like coloring is a game that you can /lose/. So, I started with my unicorn and dragon coloring books. I made the drawings fun, complex, but with heavier outlines of simple areas, and a complete background.
Then, it occurred to me that some of us grown ups still like to color. So, I went for more mature themes. The FemDom coloring book is going over well. I’m not sure what I’ll do next, but it will probably be either Trans-gender pinups, or The Coloring Book of Revelations.”
In 2009, Darla’s first full tarot deck “The Hallmark Tarot” was both featured on the cover of Tarot Magic and was published by 7th House. She continues to make an impact in alternative communities as an artist and an advocate. She has created material featuring the “BrickHouse Betties” logo (a local fat positive/body positive group) and several years ago she donated enough material to a board member of New Mexico: the Next Generation that her donations were used at an October fundraiser as door prizes. The southwest is lucky to have such a talented Renaissance woman willing to give her time and share her talent. Check out Darla’s work at the Unseen Gallery and KinkySpot.
Originally posted October 25, 2010