The Scarlet Letter
Volume VI, Number 1 | March 2001
An Interview with a Local Artist: Charlotte Criste
Interviewed by Sr. Aisha
How did you get the idea to do this type of art?
I was directly inspired by Annie Sprinkle’s tit prints. After one of Annie’s shows, my girlfriend and I just had to try it at home. We put paint on each other’s chests then pressed our bodies onto a blank paper. I thought our breast prints all looked like eyes but I was intrigued with the variety and details in the prints our yonis made. Another friend was able to spend a lot of time modeling for me so I could experiment with techniques.
What type of art did you do before this?
I’ve done a little bit of everything: costumes, magical accessories, sculpture in various materials. In the 70’s I did a lot of funky, folksy clothing art: designs in acrylics and embroidery on denim shirts and jeans. I still have my hippie bell-bottoms. The first thing I ever embroidered on them was a red, pink and purple, heart-shaped flower right on the crotch with little green leaflets where the pubic hair would be. This was the first in a series of yoni art embroideries that soon decorated the crotches of many of my friend’s jeans.
How does it effect you? Has it caused you to learn anything or to evolve in any particular way?
I am continually in awe at the breathtaking beauty of each individual, unique vulva and amazed at the variety...everyone is so different. And then there’s the magical way the prints dry to reveal subtle details. It is a form of worship for me.
How does it effect others?
It gives them a chance to confront themselves with their own undeniable beauty. A therapist friend of mine has suggested working with me, sending me clients for portraits in order to help increase their self-esteem. We guarantee a gorgeous print to hang on your wall that you can look at each day and say, “Yes, my yoni IS beautiful.” What a mantra!
Obviously, you have to be very intimate with the client. How do you make them feel comfortable?
First, I am comfortable and not at all shy. I think my attitude is professional and positive. I like to do my sessions at the client’s house so they can use their own bathroom for cleanup. I supply the drop cloths for our work area and always use new brushes and non-toxic water paint. I only touch the client with paintbrush and paper. Oh, yeah, and mixing the paints with WARM water helps.
Do you have any funny stories about the sessions? People walking in on you, etc?
It’s fun watching people see my studio prints for the first time. Many prints are pretty abstract but some really explicit. At some point it dawns on them and they ask, “Is this what I think it is?”
I’ve created cross-stitch patterns of a few of my prints. They are being worked on this winter. Imagine, handed down through generations, an exquisite tapestry of Aunt Julie’s yoni hanging in the sitting room!
The prints remind me somewhat of Rorschach blots. Do you find that people use them that way?
Sometimes I almost regret naming a series because it might limit how people see it. Some look like so many things. This is one of the reasons I prefer yonis to lingams as print subjects.
Have you considered doing lingam prints or other parts of the body? Why do the yoni?
I’ve done lingam prints and other body parts. Yonis just have more variety. They look like so many different things...like inkblots. A penis looks like a penis from across the room. Although...I’m currently working on some penis studies that will be a little more interesting. It involves placing more than one penis on a page creating a sort of mandala.
I know that you are psychic. Do you feel there is a direct link between the personality of the client and the yoni print that the client creates?
It certainly has seemed that way in some past sessions...mostly with my work with models. We would be trying for one effect and something totally unexpected would appear and later it would make perfect sense because that had been what had been on our minds all along.
Do clients ever feel dissatisfied with their prints?
Nope! Satisfaction guaranteed! In a regular session, I make about a dozen prints. Usually, the client has trouble narrowing it down to one favorite. Once, at a goddess party (lots of wine and chocolate!) where I did three quick prints of about a dozen women, I had to do one woman twice, that is, take a break and do three more prints to get one that captured what she had in mind. I have had a client request a second session so she could make a print in a different color scheme. Her first print was all fire and heavy earth. She wanted a light airy water print for balance.
How much to clients pay for a session of yoni prints?
$77 guarantees one signed print.
How much do you generally sell them for?
$156 or $93 according to size was what I put on them at the Vortex Theater. They were matted and in attractive but inexpensive frames.
How can someone purchase a yoni print from you?
I’ve finally got a website: www.yoniexpressions.com [extinct].