After several years working in graphic design, Kyle Schneider felt his career was dull and boring. However, an unexpected creative opportunity inspired Schneider to pursue the art he felt passionate about. Now, Schneider uses art to destigmatize the awkward moments of sex by using humour to help promote a sex-positive culture at Taboo.
Schneider, an Edmonton resident, graduated from Grant MacEwan’s design program in 2007 to pursue a career in graphic design.
After five years of working in the field, Schneider began to look for careers elsewhere.
“I just sort of washed out of that, because it was really dull,” Schneider said.
While working a job in the manufacturing sector, Schneider was approached to create an advertisement for a local art show, which refueled his creative drive.
“I honestly was just working at a factory and some folks asked me to do show posters for them,” Schneider said, “I just kind of went from there.”
Newly inspired, Schneider started showcasing his art at creative markets and shows, such as Edmonton’s Artwalk.
“People bought a whole bunch of my stuff there. Just a tiny set up of a table and chair and some prints set straight up across the table and people kept buying it, so I applied to other markets and got accepted.”
Schneider has found a career in illustrating for markets for the past five years.
“I am two-years into doing this full-time,” Schneider said, “I feel I’m kind of getting pretty good at it and having a good time.”
One of Schneider’s most popular art series are Kama Sutra inspired illustrations that he feels lighten the topic of sex through the lens of comedy.
One example is a bright pink-and-purple print featuring a cartoonish couple engaged in a new sex position: a woman, with purple “melty” skin has her legs wrapped around her partner’s neck, visibly laughing with the dialogue, “Now we can say we’ve done this one…” while her partner responds with, “Ha ha ha, totally.”
Schneider said, “I have really noticed, from my own personal experience, when people are having a good time in the bedroom, especially when I am having a good time in the bedroom, rolling around with someone, there is laughing involved. And a lot of giggling and having a good time. One of the easiest ways to lubricate the body and mind into getting yourself into a good headspace is laughter.”
Due to the success of his sex-positive series at other shows, Schneider took his girlfriend’s advice and applied for a booth at Taboo: A Naughty but Nice Sex Show.
Despite concerns about not fitting in among other sex-show vendors, he found that people had a strong connection with his artwork.
“I was a little worried that it might just be just like a sex show, but it turns out that people enjoy laughing when they are in a sexy situation just like in real life.”
Schneider wasn’t the only participant that had doubts about the “sexiness” of their products.
Angel Sumka, founder of the “Alberta Sex Positive Education and Community Centre”, has participated in past Taboo events and shared a similar experience.
“There has been a little bit of rumblings by people attending the Taboo show that it’s not sexy enough,” Sumka commented. “And I get that. I mean, you see a lot of a lot of sex toy vendors and stuff like that. But I think when people explore and actually stop and talk to the many booths that are there, they have a much better time.”
Overall, Sumka feels it is appropriate for Taboo to have a diverse range of vendors.
“A lot of people are looking for ways to access information and products that are about sexuality and pleasure without having to deal with that social stigma and shame,” Sumka explained.
The larger conversation of sex positivity aside, Schneider was optimistic about the number of attendees that were drawn to his booth.
“It really helps having a fluorescent sign that says, “Girls, Girls, Girls.”
- By Chris Riley & Kourtnee Burnett