Art keeps expanding. It breaks the boundaries of what is normal and usual. We, the audience, can only wait in awe to see what the next artist can produce. Stephanie Sarley, an American contemporary artist specializing in digital illustration and painting, has her viewers easily intrigued. On her Instagram — which can be deemed as NSFW — is an influx of videos of different fruits being touched in a suggestive manner by her fingers.
Her most recognizable art piece is the video of a halved blood orange. It rests on a white background, and she begins rubbing her forefinger against the center of the fruit. Slowly, she penetrates the fruit, allowing its fluids to escape freely, soaking her finger in the process. She continuously pushes her finger forward, nearly splitting the fruit itself. Then the video is finished. Sadly, there isn’t any sound for this particular video, but one can only imagine the satisfying noise.
It all started when “[her] boyfriend handed [her] an orange, and [she] just started playing with it, then decided to make a video. The penetration and the blood… [She] wasn’t even aware of those associations,” she told The Daily Dot in an interview.
“The video is basically about personifying and empowering vaginas through humor and absurdity, and the acceptance of female sexuality at large,” she tells The Guardian in another interview.
When speaking to W Magazine, she said that her mission is “[to] challenge the gender confines men and women have to deal with… fight to reclaim women’s sexuality… I’m showing you the female gaze… A lot of how people act is defined by cultural norms. With my art I have my vision of a new women…”
“I didn’t invent fingering fruit. It’s a natural thing to finger things, to play with your food. But, what I invented was a compelling video that meant something to people, about menstruation and virginity and sex and love. It meant so many different things,” Sarley elaborates in the Daily Dot interview.
Unfortunately with provocative art, repercussions can occur. Many people have called her out on being wasteful or accused her of molesting the fruit. Her blood orange video has also become a meme. She called it “the biggest damage to her work [because] people now associate [her] work with that, all over the world.”
Instagram, being her main outlet for these fruit videos, has also disabled her account three times. The first time was due to a picture of a banana with pins stuck in it. The next time was when “she started reporting more copyright infringements.”