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With a luminous illustration resume and three books under her belt, Ellen Forney is a graphic arts tour de force. Being a long-time fan of her work, I was tickled pink to sit down with Ms. Forney for an interview. As we sipped iced coffee, she gave me the low down on her history with Babeland, sex-positivity, her four-year run illustrating Lustlab, and her newest book, LUST.f1Part IYou have a long, positive history with Babeland. How did this all begin?I started out doing drawings for the catalog. I?d go into the store with a list from Rachel Venning and draw the toys. I distinctly remember holding a big dildo right up near my face to sketch it, one of those dildoes with the moveable testicles, maybe the Jeff Stryker, and it suddenly dawned on me, ?Wow. This is my job.? I got this third person perspective, how strange I must look, and I thought, ?This is cool.?I interviewed Rachel for one of my how-to comics in I Love Led Zeppelin, ?How to Fuck a Woman With your Hands.? One woman told me that it ?completely changed her sex life with her boyfriend,? and a guy emailed me to thank me. He?d just hooked up with a woman who had never had an orgasm from sex with another person. She called him a ?god.?Sex toys have made an appearance in much of your work. Do you have a favorite toy or toys?My most recent acquisition is an Annie O harness. It?s hot.Could you talk a little about place of the queer/feminist/sex-positive woman and sex-positivity in your body of work?Queer, fetish-y subjects, or things like sex toys are getting much more accepted, but are still often taboo. They?re often seen as something creepy or freaky. Dirty. Dark. My ?thing? is to present these ideas as fun and healthy, in a straightforward and playful way. Ideally, that entertains and validates the ?weird, kinky? people, and allows people outside of that world to be more accepting, and, importantly, to examine their own desires.f2Sometimes I forget that my work is seen as being ?edgy and alternative? by people who are outside of Capitol Hill, Seattle. Most people are pretty conservative. That became especially clear when my latest book collection came out and reached people who weren?t looking at the back of the Stranger. One review called it ?deviant and twisted.? I had to translate all the personal ad acronyms for my brother.I Love Led Zeppelin got a less fired-up but similar response: sex-positive and queer stuff, recreational drugs, burlesque ? that stuff was ?edgy? and ?freaky.? A comic with a woman who happened to have hairy armpits made one reviewer uncomfortable.My subject matter doesn?t seem ?alternative? to me really, it?s just normal. It?s how we all live. It?s not that I?m na�ve, I just forget. I think that?s what allows me to present it in a very open, matter-of-fact way. It?s open and matter-of-fact!How did ?Lustlab Ad of the Week,? your cartoon series in The Stranger, come into being?Editor Dan Savage, Lustlab manager Caroline Dodge, and art director Corianton Hale came up with the idea. They wanted a one-panel cartoon relating to the kinky personals, and decided to feature an ad of the week. I took to it right away. It was a perfect exercise for me, and allowed me to practice different drawing and writing styles. Of course, it carried a totally sex positive message, too.I put a lot of humor in my work. Humor is very disarming. It allows people to receive messages they might otherwise be resistant to.Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 of our interview, and make sure to mark your calendar: Ellen Forney will be celebrating the opening of her show, Ta-ta Lustlab Ad of the Week, on Tuesday, September 9th as part of the Capitol Hill Art Walk. Join Babeland Seattle at 6pm for a close-up look at original illustrations from Lustlab. our interview, and make sure to mark your calendar: Ellen Forney will be celebrating the opening of her show, Ta-ta Lustlab Ad of the Week, on Tuesday, September 9th as part of the Capitol Hill Art Walk. Join Babeland Seattle at 6pm for a close-up look at original illustrations from Lustlab.