Impossibly perfect men float around naked, surrounded by gears and cyber-creatures, in Kiriko Moth's Yaoi art. Yaoi — the Japanese art of showing lovely young dudes, in sexual situations for a female readership — has been building an avid U.S. following. And now artists like Kiriko are bringing Art Nouveau-esque yaoi porn to the dark world of cyber- and steampunk. Click through for a (possibly NSFW) gallery and interview.
I feel like most yaoi art is fantasy-oriented. Is your work more oriented towards fantasy or science fiction?
A lot of my art is ambiguous as to whether it's fantasy or sci-fi, but I think I gravitate more towards fantasy. Lately I've been doing more steampunk themed art, which I guess falls more into the sci-fi category... So the scifi vs. fantasy might even be around 50-50 at this point. I've often tried to break out of the scifi/fantasy niche and just draw something completely mundane, but I can't seem to manage it.
How big is the yaoi audience in the U.S. now? Is it as big as it is in Japan?
I won't claim to be an expert on the yaoi market. I'm pretty sure the Japanese yaoi market still far surpasses the American created/produced yaoi scene. They've just been doing it longer, and most of our popular yaoi media is imported from Japan. I think many of the bigger publishing houses are not so quick to pick up yaoi as they have been to dive into general audience manga, so that keeps the market small. It's difficult for the small presses to to make it in the business, and that's where most of our American yaoi is coming from - small presses, independant publishers, and self-publishing.
When did you get involved in yaoi art?
I discovered rather early in my teenage years that having two guys together is just hot, so when I first found yaoi on the internet (it is for porn, after all) it was like coming home. I didn't join the yaoi art scene until much later, circa 2004, but it really only coincided with graduating from college and suddenly having more time on my hands. Moving to San Francisco helped also, because that gave me my first chance to attend Yaoi-Con and meet the community in person. Having a group to share the artwork with just gave me more reasons to draw yaoi-themed art.