Between The Sheets With Sarah Barnfart

Between The Sheets With Sarah Barnfart

 

We had the absolute pleasure of speaking with self-proclaimed mixed media ‘art bitch’, vintage porn connoisseur, and seasoned, prolific shitposter, Sarah Barnfart! Her work explores themes of sexuality, empowerment, angst, mental health, and more. Creating colorful pop-arty edits of vintage pornographic images, adorned with irreverent phrases that reflect the absurdity of life, atop detailed and mesmerizing patterns, her style is bold, compelling, and uniquely recognizable.


When she’s not making art or masturbating you can find Sarah on Instagram bringing you all the cursed and cringe content you didn’t know you needed, expertly curating playlists, teaching you how to tuck your shirt into your underwear like a pro, slinging sex toys, and popularizing the ultimate quarantine activity: sex toy karaoke!


In this interview, Sarah talks about how the intentionality in her art has evolved, why shaking your ass is in fact, self-care, and why it’s so important to let yourself be silly!


Hi Sarah! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work!


I’m a 26-year-old mixed media artist from the DC area. For the past couple of years, I have been using my weekly pieces as a sort of makeshift diary. I’ve always loved the idea of being a person who kept a journal but I could never commit to finishing one, so this was my alternative to a traditional journal. No commitment to filling a notebook, which made it a lot easier for me to tackle. Each weekly piece is a direct reflection of something that I have experienced recently and am sorting through.



Much of your art refashions vintage porn and erotica, in playful reclamation and redefining of the body, sexuality, sexual autonomy, and self-worth. Can you tell us a bit about what led you to incorporate vintage porn and erotica in your work?


About 5 years ago, I got my hands on a HUGE bunch of vintage porn and I said “well what are we gonna do with all of this????”. Art seemed like the best use of such a collection, so I put it to work. When I first started using it, it didn’t feel radical to me. I was just using the supplies I had. Over time, I started to realize that the fact that I was using images of naked bodies and porn made some people really upset. My pieces were getting taken down often even though they were completely censored and didn’t violate rules. That was when I really started to get intentional about the porn that I was using as opposed to just the aesthetics




What emotions and energies influence and inspire your art and art-making process the most?


Tough question: all emotions and energies play some role in my art because every week, I’m feeling something different; some weeks I’m in a particularly good mood, some weeks I’m in a terrible mood when I make my pieces. If I had to pick the energy that factors most often, it’s probably solidarity. I want to make pieces that others can relate to. These pieces, they are about me, but I’m not looking for a “Hang in there bud” type of response, I want people to see it and think “Okay, yeah I feel like that and It feels good to know that I’m not alone in my feelings.”

 

The social commentary that you explore in your art and the silliness of your social media has served as a form of community care for many and a space for collective healing. What are some of the specific messages you hope that people take away from your work and your account?


Beyond feeling some solidarity in their completely valid feelings, I want people to take away that there is immense value in being yourself and just doing what is best for you, however, you deem fit. I mean, I literally put my weird-ass self on the internet every day. I’m really just trying to have fun in a world that makes that really, really hard to just enjoy being around with people who are like you. I just want to make people laugh and be dumb because everything is SO serious!!!



Would you say your art-making is a form of self-care? What are some other ways you engage in self-care?


Oh, absolutely it is a form of self-care! It makes me think in detail about how shitty or good I feel and I’ve forced myself to self-analyze that every week. Recently, my favorite form of self-care is turning my phone off, putting it in a shoe in my closet and then putting on my cowboy hat and twerking to my sad cowboy playlist. I also find extreme pleasure in going to 7/11 and indulging in a giant glazed honey bun.


What type of pornographic/erotic content are you drawn to? Any recommendations?


I tend to find myself reading erotica more than watching porn these days; Books, comics, manga, fanfiction! I tend to enjoy things that are not only sexy but also funny at the same time: There’s so much to choose from. Some of my favorites are Darlin' It's Betta Down Where It's Wetta by Megan Rose Gedris, Escape Journey by Ogeretsu Tanaka, Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky, The Pearl, and The New Olympia Reader.

 

You’re known for making some kick-ass Spotify playlists that garner hundreds of followers. What role does music play in your creative process? What role does it play in connecting to your sexual self?


Music is one of the most important factors in my life - for each phase of my life, there is a playlist that goes right beside it. I am almost always listening to music when I am creating, so it plays a huge role there. I often make pieces that are directly related to what I listened to that week. I love to use lyrics I’ve heard recently as text in my pieces from time to time.


There is certainly music out there that inspires me sexually. A soft neo-soul song can always put me in the mood, whether I am alone or with a partner. When I am alone, I love to blast my masturbation playlist in my headphones. Choosing music to have a little fun alone helps me to set an intention and mindfully enjoy myself, which I think is really important when you are trying to really get to know your body and what you like sexually.

 


What or who has been inspiring your work and/or your sex life as of lately?


To be honest, I have been mostly inspired by a break-up I had recently and the collective loneliness we are all feeling in the time of Covid-19. Both of these are inspiring my art and my sex life. Going through this as a person, who hasn't been single since their teens, is very dramatic. I am learning how to be alone again and being forced to do it to some degree. It’s like Corona came along and said “You must learn how to survive without other people holding you up”. 


So, I am trying my best to do that without feeling too bad for myself but I know I’m not alone in feeling the pure existential loneliness. I’m taking this monkey wrench that was thrown directly at my head and using it to tweak some things to hopefully come out the other end a little stronger!



What is something you learned or a piece of advice you received recently, that positively impacted your relationship to your body and/or your sexuality, that you’d like to share with the readers?


Recently, I heard someone say “If it doesn't serve you, let it go.” This is kind of a self drag, but as someone who is a serial people pleaser, I always try to make things work out the best for everyone involved, even if that means I’m putting myself in a place where I feel uncomfortable. I’m trying to teach myself that some things cannot be fixed and you need to step away from it. I think that’s really important advice and I wish I had considered it much earlier in my life.


What are your top 3 picks from Nox Shop?


    


You can follow Sarah on Instagram at @SarahBarnfart, and shop her collection of prints, shirts, bags, buttons, and her absolutely iconic “Wipeth Away Thy Sin Heathen” cum rag on her website

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