#GramGen is a series profiling the most radical characters in youth culture, who continue to shape trend behavior and spark controversy through their avant fashion sense and candid social media personalities. What began as physical insecurities and untapped artistic talent is now a unique art form of erotic graphic collages for Giulia, the artist otherwise known as @scientwehst. Growing up, Giulia recalls always being self-conscious of her image, ashamed of her curves and "thickness," until she learned to be appreciative of her body and to "fuck a beauty standard: just be you." It's this learned self-confidence that has become the center of Giulia's graphic collages, allowing her to push boundaries regarding sexuality and censorship of the female form.
By strategically placing architectural elements onto images of the female body, Giulia is ever so slightly bypassing Instagram’s strict censorship rules, but while the Brooklyn-based artist’s near-pornographic collages are technically safe for IG, she says it hasn’t been an easy road on the platform. Giulia has had multiple posts and even her entire account deleted before due to the provocativeness of her content, to which she responds, "Social-media society is not a public, democratic space, so we need to stop treating it as such."
In addition to making insanely cool graphic art, Giulia is also using her voice on IG to help create a space in social media that celebrates sexuality, openness, and freedom of expression -- "to contribute to these conversations feels incredibly fulfilling."
We caught up with Giulia to talk about what inspires her art, the weirdest DMs she receives in response, and the “facade of openness” that is the social-media-sphere. How old are you? I’m 27-years-old. June 1, 1990 – Gemini baby. Where are you from and where are you currently based? I’m from southwest Florida, currently living in Brooklyn, NY.
When did you first begin creating art, and when did you start sharing it on Instagram? I’ve always been able to draw well, but I only did so on super rare occasions: smoke a bit of weed, draw or paint a portrait for five hours straight. I’d be impressed with myself every time (haha), but I never felt inclined to expand or practice those skills. I’d share whatever I drew socially, but it wasn’t a consistent enough flow of work, I didn’t really care. I was drawing something once every year haha. It was about three years ago when I started to really commit to creating work and posting it on Instagram. Describe your IG feed in three words. Holy mother fuck!
Your collages incorporate various images, often of architecture and design, in place of female genitalia — how did you come up with this idea? It started with me creating random pornographic collages where I would replace genitalia with images that looked phallic or yonic, typically food. This slowly evolved into me looking for any images that resembled a female body, which was then refined into me looking for only architectural images that resembled the female form. You celebrate the female body in your work rather than concealing it as women are often taught to do. Why is this important to you? I was always insecure growing up when it came to my curves. I would cry about my thickness, I wanted to be tall and skinny. But there finally came a point, probably about 2–3 years ago, when I started to say, "fuck this shit! I will never have this type of body, and I’m going to embrace the softness that is me." I guess this switch in mindset started to show up in my work. It’s important to love and celebrate yourself too. I know we’re always being spoon fed this quote, but it's the truth. We put our bodies through so much shit everyday: mentally and physically. Just be kind and appreciate that you have this amazing vessel to get around, to communicate, to express and radiate your uniqueness. As long as you're healthy and practice good habits, fuck a beauty standard: just be you.
Your collages teeter on the edge of approval for IG. Have you had posts taken down before? If so, what do you think this says about today’s social media society? Yes, my collages have been taken down before, but also, so has my entire account. Social-media society is not a public, democratic space, so we need to stop treating it as such. These white-tech bros dictate in their swivel chairs what we can share and how we can manage our platforms. They create a facade of openness, while exploiting us and profiting from our data and content. We are not protected because social-media has been privatized. Social media companies serve as an arm to our government's agendas... Our government is is also inherently sexist... Sexism still thrives in social media society... Let’s all connect the dots.
If you could give one piece of knowledge or advice to the people who follow you, what would it be? Our culture seeks immediacy, social media definitely plays into this and perpetuates an illusion of success. We’re always on the run: What’s the next best thing? Who’s the coolest and has the best style? Who has more followers? Who has the best body? For fuck sake, we’re all spinning and getting essentially nothing done. We need to slow down. If you’re working toward something you’re passionate about it and feel like you’re not being “recognized” immediately for it, do not get discouraged. Do not take the easy way out. Keep going against the grain. Stay authentic to who you are and please be patient. Eventually, you’ll attract what you’re looking for and it'll feel 100x better doing it this way. The pieces on your feed can be provocative for IG’s standards — what are some of the weirdest DMs you’ve received in response? The weirdest DM I ever received was from some dude who said, “I will fuck you scientwehst. I don’t care if you lose all of your limbs, I will fuck you.” Or more recently, “You’re an artist that bases their work on sex, but blocks me when I express my sexual desires toward you? Damn. Lucky me I got 3 more accounts I can message you on.” Smdh.
What are you most proud of when it comes to your work? I don’t really have a sense of pride when it comes to my art. If anything, I feel more honored to be welcomed in a space with such passionate people, some who have committed their lives to studying and breaking barriers surrounding sex, sexuality and censorship; I’m humbled. To contribute to these conversations feels incredibly fulfilling. What can we look forward to seeing from you in the future? You can look forward to more collaborations. :)
For more #GramGen, check out the model teaching followers that self confidence is hot AF.