I came across Saftkeur’s fantasy world through Instagram’s ‘explore’ page… Something about the tiny thumbnail of two animated girls with extraordinarily long tongues shamelessly lolling out of their mouths just drew me in. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
So I investigated more, scrolling deeply down through Saftkeur’s tumblr posts and learning about each girls’ personality and tongue size. They inhabit an intricately imagined territory called Paeratopa – I’ll let Saftkeur explain a little more about this city in a moment.
Prior to posting this interview a friend asked what I liked about the pictures. As in, specifically, what engaged me enough about them to set up an interview with their creator? It’s a delicate mix of reasons. Their computer generated/anime aesthetic is one that resonates with me, that I feel I grew up with. Each girl has big gentle yet assertive eyes, dusty freckles, soft pillow lips, baby doll faces, great hair. They’re young, like they’re definitely not yet women but they’re also amazonian and powerful—they certainly have full reign of Paeratopa. The element of play in the fantasy narrative is possibly more sexualised than they are. Paeratopa seems like a world of leisure and indulgence for the lucky Paerans.
I’m also very interested in the vore fetish. (This is a pornhub link NSFW) I had never heard of vore before but have since looked into it and have developed an interest in the community. What exactly is vore? It’s a niche fetish in which one fantasizes about being eaten alive or eating another creature alive. Often the sexual emphasis is placed on the mouth or the fantasy narrative plays with the size of characters. I had always found the cartoon sidebars on porn sites a strange thing for people to be turned on by, but with Saftkeur’s Paeran girls I feel that this allows a detachment from reality, a safe other realm where extreme or mild fetishes can be part of normal day-to-day life. Whats not to like? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Thank you very much to Saftkeur for this interview. Check out Saftkeur’s Deviant Art page and tumblr for more pictures or to get in touch with any further questions or commissions. You can also become a patron to Saftkeur here.
Hi Saftkeur! Can you give a quick description of your fantasy land, Paeratopa.
I still haven’t quite got my “elevator pitch” for Paeratopa figured out, but in somewhat brief terms:
Paeratopa is a fantasy realm all its own, vast jungle and forest and sea all centered around a single walled city, home to many of the native Paerans and a larger population of displaced outsiders. The latter are mostly just normal humans, but there’s all sorts of monster and fantasy races among them as well, from who knows where! People stumble into Paeratopa often without even knowing how it happened, and once there, it’s challenging to find a way back out. The Paerans themselves, all of them female and often bestowed with inhuman traits, are a magic-wielding race and consider humans (and other non-Paeran beings) as food just as much as they are people. The fact that these outsiders actually outnumber the Paerans does work to their advantage, though, as it makes it a little easier to continue their lives there without constant fear.
For some other key points, it’s a bit of a mix of “might and magic” fantasy and some semi-modern comforts, for example you’ll find plenty of taverns filled with adventurers but you’ll also find things like refrigerators in most homes. The city is roughly as big as, say, Manhattan in NYC, but can be tricky to get around in because parts of the layout change when unobserved. And lastly, death within Paeratopa is an impermanent condition; almost like a video game, if you die there, it’ll only be a few days at most before you find yourself waking up good as new somewhere out in the jungle.
…Phew. That wasn’t as brief as I’d hoped! TL;DR version would be: fantasy realm with a few modern comforts, single city surrounded by increasingly dangerous jungle, magic-wielding natives who just love to shrink and then swallow tasty humans whole…
How long have you been forming this world?
It feels like ages, but probably closer to five years, give or take. I’ve always loved world-building and fantasizing, but it wasn’t until I began to take my weird fantasy/fetish characters more seriously that I actually started to craft a proper world for them to live in.
When and how did you begin to actualise it in pictures?
Probably about five years ago for that, too! Though actually, I was creating characters for a while even before that; there wasn’t a Paeratopa or any Paerans at the time, just kinda random character ideas floating around. It mostly started with learning to use DAZ Studio for my 3D work, and latching onto it as basically an overly-complex character creation screen (video games with lots of character customization were always a favorite of mine). Before that, I just did digital drawing and painting, and my very first characters were just written profiles based around pretty pictures I’d found online.
Perhaps, could you list the software that you do use and guide us through your artistic process.
Certainly. First and formost would be DAZ Studio, which is essentially a clone of Poser; a 3D scene setup/rendering program, meant more for manipulating existing 3D models as opposed to making your own. The second part of my process is all in Photoshop, which I use for all of the post-production editing and detailing. A general route through my process would be starting in DAZ Studio, using one of the customized figures I’ve set up in there to pose and build a scene, which I then render and take into Photoshop to continue with painted-on details and adjustments to lighting and color and whatever else might be needed.
Beyond that, I also use Blender for creating my own 3D models, as well as Manga Studio sometimes for my drawings and paintings (when I’m not doing them in Photoshop already).
Your decision to be anonymous? Is this to protect your IRL identity, to allow your work to exist on its own — detatched from a personality — or for other reasons?
All of the above, sort of? The anonymity certainly makes me feel a lot more comfortable with sharing a lot of work that is, in a lot of ways, very personal and private for me. I’ve also found myself very much drawn to anonymity as a way to let my work to stand on its own merits, without assumptions about what sort of a person must be behind it. Gender roles and stereotypes in particular are things I’ve really come to hate, so that is a really big factor in deciding to present myself as anonymous and agender when I’m online.
How do you work out the character’s personalities? Do they come to you in a flash or are you always trying to consider each new girl in relation to the existing girls, to balance each others personalities?
A little of both, though I try to let each character come to me on their own, rather than trying to create them to fill particular gaps; in my experience, the latter doesn’t work out as often, since their personalities feel forced and they don’t really feel “alive” to me.
It’s hard to tell what my inspirations are at this point, because there’s simply so many of them; characters on television shows and in books, people I see, even just little thought experiments that I come across. It’s the sum of these things that sometimes just pop out as individual personality or appearance traits, and while there’s plenty of half-baked ideas that never take off, sometimes one sticks and I have to give them proper character.
The very simple but teasingly sexual text that accompanies each picture is one of my favourite things about your posts. Are these easy for you to write?
Sometimes they are! A lot of these little blurbs I write are based on ideas I’ve already come up with to go with a particular character’s personality, little stories and scenarios I’ve already imagined. Sometimes it can be a real challenge to think up even a simple little description to go with a picture, though. I’ve had more than one image that ended up being uploaded a day late because I blanked on writing a description.
I find your relationship to these characters interesting. It seems to focus on you as their creator, so while the Paerans are a sexual species your attitude towards them has never come across as leery, in fact it is much more caring, and proud. Do you agree with this?
Yeah, that sounds about right! (and I’m glad it comes across that way!) Sure, the whole of Paeratopa is inspired mostly by fetishes and kinks mixed in with general fantasy stuff, and the characters aren’t all that different. But I find myself being more and more protective of them, and really invested in their personalities. Ultimately, they’re fictional characters, but part of the enjoyment of imagining them as “real” in some way also means that I really hate to think about treating them as less than people.
I only learned about vore through your work, had you been aware of this fetish community before you began to develop your fantasy work?
To an extent, though not entirely at first. Vore is something I actually discovered after only having an interest in size and tongue fetishes, and for the longest time I was only morbidly interested in it; I still dislike the death and digestion aspects. That curiosity led me to learn more about the subject however, and as I realized it spanned a much wider variety – including more gentle and non-fatal fantasies, as well as ideas such as reformation – it suddenly had a lot more appeal.
I’ve found myself very interested in fetishes of all types since then! My own personal interests are still a little more narrow, but I’m just fascinated by all of the strange and amazing things others take pleasure in, and I love to learn about them.
You have a very net-based practice. What are your thoughts on Net Art and online communities?
Hmm, just in general? I think it’s amazing how art has grown in such a way with the advent of the internet, and sites/communities like DeviantArt. It’s made it a lot easier for younger artists to delve in and express themselves creatively, and even come to realize that they can pursue art as a career. I suppose the downside of all of this is that it makes it a little more difficult for some to stand out in the crowd, but honestly, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I only wish that more of the general public were more aware of the effort and time that goes into a lot of artwork, it’s become very easy to take images for granted and discount their value as a result.
What are there the influences that have inspired you to make this work?
To put it bluntly, my own interests and fetishes were – and still are – some of my biggest influences. I started creating characters like these because of frustration at not being able to find what I was looking for online. That’s pretty much what inspired me to get into art as a whole, but these subjects in particular are a result of it simply being nigh-impossible to find exactly what I was looking for being created by anyone else.
Seeing as you take commissions, I’m very curious if you have an average customer?
It varies a lot! I find that I get a pretty wide variety of customers, both those from the fetish community and also those more in the aesthetic community as well, people who come to me with some really wild ideas for pictures and people who find it appealing because it’s so weird and alien to them. I don’t really know what the average of those would be.
Who of your friend’s/peer’s work are you most impressed by?
There’s so many of them! I suppose I couldn’t get through this without at least mentioning Karbo, whose fantasy/vore paintings were among the first I ever saw of the subject and had a big part in inspiring me to create my own. Of my friends, MukatKikaarn was perhaps the first vore artist I befriended in the community, and I owe a lot to them for all the inspiration and confidence they’e given me. And HungrySuccubus is another of my closest friends in the community now as well, and I’m constantly looking up to them for their dedication and business sense. I don’t think I could list any more without having to go on and on, there’s too many people out there who impress me in so many ways.
What would your dream job/commission be?
I don’t even know! It used to be that my dream job would be to get really good at fantasy illustration and start doing concept art or illustrations for card games and things of that nature, but I’m really happy being a self-employed artist right now in this genre as well. I think I’d like to reach a point where I don’t rely entirely on commissions to make a living – it’s difficult to put the amount of work in that I want to, without having to charge an arm and a leg for my time as well – but as for what that dream job would be specifically, I don’t really know.
How would you rate your internet use out of 10? (10 being the highest achievement, 0 being the lowest.)
Ah, I’m going to be a little modest and say 8/10, perhaps. It’s high, that’s for sure; I’m checking messages pretty regularly, browsing or chatting, or just playing online games. I have a lot of unhealthy habits in that regard, so it’s a number I’m trying to bring way down, though with minimal success so far.