And they say size doesn’t matter.
Come July 21-23, fans of erotic art will see the biggest edition of Sin City Gallery’s annual art festival, 12 Inches of Sin. Now in its sixth year, the event will be held at New Orleans Square and showcase artists from around the world such as Dennis Keim, Paul Butvila and Helm Rulfrok. Each artist will explore sexuality and eroticism through the lens of contemporary art, putting it all on display for hundreds of people.
For $20, attendees get a three-day pass to meet hundreds of artists, enjoy live entertainment and attend workshops covering everything from Dick Pics 101 to an intro to bondage with Rope Socials—all while supporting the Sin Sity Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a nonprofit that raises that provides support to people with HIV and AIDS. Plus it’s indoors and has air conditioning, which is the most important element for festivals this time of year.
There’s a twist to the festival though. Artists only have a 1-foot by 1-foot area to work with, hence the name 12 Inches of Sin. Dr. Laura Henkel of Sin City Gallery says, “It was a play on words that opened Pandora’s box for erotic themed work.”
The early years of 12 Inches of Sin, which debuted in the 250-square-foot Sin City Gallery, provided a unique challenge: how big can the art be? Due to the constricted space, Henkel limited the pieces to 1-foot by 1-foot spaces, providing a creative obstacle for participating artists, which they took and ran with. But even now with a 72,000-square-feet venue to work with and hundreds of artists, they are still limited to the same dimensions to get as much work up on the walls as possible.
Don’t expect the works to obscene or overtly explicit, though. 12 Inches of Sin is not a porn festival. It’s a grassroots exhibition that aims to show that erotica is a valid, creative and expressive style of art, just as surrealism or abstract art is.
“If you’re looking for something along the lines of Adult Video News, you will be sadly disappointed,” says Dr. Laura, “I would be incredibly delighted if it turns into a cross between [Miami’s] Art Basel and [San Francisco’s] Folsom Street Fair, though.”