Natalie Krim grew up in Los Angeles, and having been fascinated by fashion from an early age graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York in 2011. Her particular interest is women’s underwear, a theme which dominates her work in fashion design, illustrations and photography. In just over a decade as an artist, mostly as a result of her postings on Instagram, her trademark drawings have been appreciated by an ever-expanding following. She has had several solo exhibitions, and Vogue magazine included her in their Top Hundred Artists list, as well as naming her one of the best erotic artists on Instagram. Her work was included in Sotheby’s 2022 ground-breaking exhibition and the accompanying book, A Woman’s Right to Pleasure, and she has collaborated with brands such as HBO and Calvin Klein. Her work has gradually evolved, exploring the complexities of intimacy, women’s issues and political injustices.

Natalie Krim began drawing ethereal, dreamlike depictions of female pleasure to reconcile a rape that happened in her teens. When she started, the images straddled the line between child and adult as she tried to cling onto her innocence while claiming her own sexuality and power as an adult. ‘As I have grown up, so has my work, but the need to express life in this very vulnerable way is still at the heart of everything I do. My work expresses significant events including the grief of my dad’s death, my abortion, and my spiritual rebirth. I’m aiming to communicate a sense of acceptance of our fears, our desires, our struggles, and our triumphs, to celebrate our bodies and create a space that minimises judgement and encourages self-expression.’

At the core of her drawings is female pleasure – orgasms, vulvas, breasts, masturbation and intimacy. ‘The more we normalise it, embrace it, write about it, create about it, fight for it, the more power we give to ourselves and women around the world,’ she explains. ‘Pleasure is an important space for us to champion our wants and needs and have our voices heard. It’s part of the larger idea of self-worth, which is something I’ve struggled with. When we say we deserve to experience pleasure, or deserve to be financially independent, or deserve love, or deserve to feel safe, we are creating a personal wholeness that says we are worthy. It’s all connected.’

In 2019 Krim moved to Ojai, a rural Californian valley in the Topatopa mountains, and given the serene, atmospheric nature of her daily life, the move was a prescient one. Based in the upper Ojai on a property with easy access to nature, her relative isolation has been described as a masterclass in calm self-care; as she explains, ‘We have to channel all of the things that we’ve learned and read about self-love, whether it’s skincare or self-pleasure.’

Natalie Krim’s Instagram account can be found here.

Example illustration