T-Shirts from the Wild Side

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This year's Folsom Street Leather Fair marked the grand opening event of Strange Affections, the world's first "sex positive, fine art t-shirt company." Created and advised by kink, het and LGBT community insiders, Strange Affections seeks to do much more than shock with their overtly carnally inspired designs, but to expose the next generation of alternative artists to a wider audience while throwing a spotlight on amorous art from the ancient past and around the world. Designs include art licensed directly from some of the world's hottest unconventional artists including Julian Murphy (the artist Vogue magazine called "one of the most prominent and collectable artists working in the world today").

Our provocative full color, fine art t-shirts were created for sophisticated and discerning customers who expect top quality goods and value, but who are also unafraid to express who they are. Our logo, 'Wear your wild on the outside,' is an exhortation to be passionate and proud; not in spite of, but because of, who you are and how you love. But always with the utmost of style

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From social protest to rock tour, beer commercial to the latest Britney Spears joke, the t-shirt seems to have sported just about every slogan and image imaginable. But one new company hopes to open up a whole new category on the scene. Combining museum quality erotic art and premium apparel, the audacious new clothing manufacturer is offering the world's first alternative fine art t-shirt. Leather clad shoppers at this year's ultimate festival of kink in San Francisco, the Folsom Street Fair, were first to see Strange Affections (http://www.strangeaffections.com) racy new designs in person. The reaction was electrifying.

Created and advised by sex positive writers, advocates and educators, Strange Affections t-shirts sport some of the hottest and most passionate art in the world. "Our provocative full color, fine art t-shirts were created for sophisticated and discerning customers who expect top quality goods and value, but who are also unafraid to express who they are. Our logo, 'Wear your wild on the outside,' is an exhortation to be passionate and proud; not in spite of, but because of, who you are and how you love. But always with the utmost of style," says Strange Affections founder Baraka Jaden.

The company sought to provide a number of ground breaking designs for this underserved and often marginalized market. Designs range everywhere from those tame enough to throw on to a trip to the post office to those some might consider appropriate at alternative lifestyle events only. But they all have something in common; frank depictions of unconventional lust and world class art.

Despite the controversial choice of subject matter, Strange Affections' female owner denies that her primary purpose is to scandalize. "Our shirts are about far more than simple shock value or making raunch sell. You can find 1,000, perhaps 10,000 t-shirts far more out there and overtly vulgar than ours on sale already."

What the steamy start-up hopes to do is nothing less than re-uniting culture and sophistication with passion by throwing a spot light on today's best adult fine artists as well as on important erotically themed art from the past and around the world. All while using America's number one favorite mode of personal expression – the t-shirt.

Unlike the majority of t-shirts on sale today, the originals of Strange Affections' designs can be found hanging on museum and gallery walls coast to coast and around the world. The company licensed art directly from an elite selection of internationally renowned adult fine artists such as "tantric pop" artist Julian Murphy (the artist Vogue magazine called "one of the most prominent and collectible erotic artists working in the world today") and Axel, whose highly idiosyncratic, cartoon-like illustrations of spectacularly endowed men in provocative poses has brought international acclaim.

Line extensions planned for spring include queer and straight designs from ancient Greek pottery, famed Japanese wood cut artist Hokusai (1760-1849), and a charming print featuring two women in various stages of regency era undress from Art Deco illustrator extraordinaire Gerda Wagner, among others.

For Strange Affections owner and staff, the business is about much more than selling a few salacious t-shirts, it's a mission. "Despite a war on pleasure and individuality by some of the more conservative segments of the country, people are still having great sex, still falling in love, still breaking all the rules just by being who they are. It is for the proudly passionate, for those people whose personalities and love styles don't fit inside closets or conventions that Strange Affections was born."

The company's website (http://www.strangeaffections.com) also hosts the Passion Arts blog, art links, bios of the artists, and more.

But is the marketplace really ready to accept such risqué designs as the re-imagined statue of Michelangelo's David, complete with buttless chaps and leather flogger, even if it is dressed up in the guise of high art, personal freedom, and activism? Only time will tell. However, early responses the fledgling company has received have been strong. "People love the quality of our shirts, but more importantly, the designs speak deeply to them. At a time when the simple joys of physical intimacy that should belong to everyone equally are scorned and maligned on nearly all fronts; when the basic human right to marry the person you love is under vitriolic attack; this business serves to legitimize who we are as sexual beings. Seeing that which is so personally meaningful and liberating on an individual basis is also worthy of great art and beauty, and always has been, is a powerful thing. We aren't trying nor wanting to sell our shirts to everyone. But if you do more than just think about walking on the wild side, boy have we got something special for you!"

http://www.strangeaffections.com

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