Following a nationwide competition aptly called "Pleasure as Art," the manufacturer of the seminal Magic Wand commissioned a Miami-based artist to produce an interactive exhibit that will be unveiled at a trade show early next year and will then be featured as a traveling exhibit at various yet-to-be-announced prominent retailers across the nation. The piece will first be featured Adult Novelty Manufacturers Expo January 10-11, 2022, in Burbank, California.
Deriving inspiration from a combination of science-fiction sources and Renaissance-era paintings that emphasized sensuality and sexual expression, artist and illustrator Dafne Blade is constructing an interactive exhibit made solely from defective Magic Wand sex toys that were unintentionally damaged during production or shipping.
The Napa, California-based sex toy manufacturer, Vibratex — which makes more than half a million of the toys each year — shipped more than 100 Magic Wand vibrators to Blade to create the sculpture.
"Though these wands won’t have their chance to deliver physical pleasure, they can certainly still make people happy," reads a memo announcing Blade, who uses they/them pronouns, as the winner of the art competition.
The goal, they tell New Times in an interview, is to create art that will broadly speak to the abstract concepts of sensuality and pleasure.
If you need a visual, think of it as a Ferris-wheel-like throne made of Magic Wands. The piece is composed of about 300 individual parts and can be dismantled and reassembled in sections so that it can be shipped.
Blade is a self-described overly sensitive artist who expresses momentary feelings through attention to detail. Their work, they say "invites viewers to step into worlds that blur the lines of fantasy and reality."
A panel of judges including industry professionals, sex experts, and representatives from the northern-California-based queer advocacy organization LGBTQ Connection picked Blade's concept from 20 submissions that were considered.
"The whole point is that I want to invite anyone to be the center of this Magical Wand realm [and] the center of their own pleasure and to empower everyone," Blade says. "That's really the main goal in both my piece, and I think to a degree, too, for Magic Wands."
The artist's design is a six-foot-by-six-foot sculpture that, according to the company's memo announcing Blade as the winner, "is an ethereal interpretation of pleasure that features both sculptural and painted artwork."
"What we wanted to do was say, 'OK, the Magic Wand is bigger than a pleasure product; it's bigger than a massager,'" Vibratex CEO Ken Herskovitz says. "It's bigger than a single thing it does. It has meant so much to so many people over 52 years. What we're hoping when somebody sees this, they get that sense that this is more than a cool display in a store. It's more than showing off that this product feels good."