Q&A: Dr. Laura Henkel Discusses '12 Inches of Sin' Kickstarter Campaign

LOS ANGELES — Dr. Laura Henkel told XBIZ she has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help finance the publication of hardcover books for the four-volume set of juried, erotic art called “12 Inches of Sin: So Much Art You Can Barely Fit It All In."

Henkel, a sexologist and founder of the Sin City Gallery in Las Vegas who is now entering her fourth year curating “12 Inches of Sin,” has turned the annual exhibition into a unique international event.

“The first year, I had 40 submissions from five countries,” Henkel said. “This year, I received 300 submissions and artists from 20 countries have submitted to date.”

After the second year Henkel started to create art catalogs as artists came from all over world to Vegas for the opening exhibition. 

“Over the years, I have tried to improve the catalogs as the exhibition evolves,” Henkel explained. “Last year, I submitted three catalogs to retailers and they all want it. Ironically, I do not have product to give them. Thus, the Kickstarter campaign.”

Henkel says this series “will please almost anyone with its wide-ranging and creative selection of fetish, beauty, unflinching voyeurism, bizarrely fantastic, sublime nudity, metaphor, and amorous moments.”

The exhibition is serious, but the Kickstarter rewards were created with tongue firmly in cheek as the titles are laced with double entendre. Rewards include packages such as “Hot Date,” “Stick It Places,” “Up Against The Wall” “Hand Job,” “The Orgy” and “Full Frontal.”

Henkel launched the Kickstarter campaign on March 1 and hopes to raise $25K. In this exclusive interview, she discussed the evolution of “12 Inches of Sin” and how the exhibition and catalogs have become “a labor of love.” 

XBIZ: What do you attribute to the increased interest in this endeavor?

LH: People are more open to expressing their lifestyles openly and proudly through art. Art is an extension of our character and who we are in the world. Fine art is not about matching the living-room sofa. It is a platform to engage in conversation and exploration. Sin City Gallery provides accessibility to sophisticated, ‘cerebral sexy’ contemporary art.

XBIZ: How have you been able to cultivate international submissions?

LH: It’s been a combination of multiple factors. I have traveled the globe on behalf of clients for art projects — private collectors, galleries and museums. From these experiences, I have cultivated an international network of art enthusiasts. Through the Internet, enthusiasts share the opportunity to exhibit in Las Vegas through the 12ofSin group show. Artists know that their art will be seen by an international group of esteemed judges and to a great number of new patrons. Also the winner of ‘12 Inches of Sin’ receives a solo exhibition at Sin City Gallery. The fact that the art is 12 inches in size and under makes the art easy to transport internationally. 

We’ve had numerous artists travel from England, Bulgaria and all over the United States. This year, we may have an artist visit us from Iraq.   

XBIZ: What have you learned from working on this during the first three years?

LH: Sin City Gallery and its 12ofSin provide a vital service. Artists need a market to sell and patrons seek a respectable gallery to acquire. 12ofSin, either through exhibition or the art books, make art accessible to all. Art + Sex = Bliss.

XBIZ: How have you refined your process?

LH: 12ofSin had 40 artists from five countries participating the inaugural year. This year, 300 submissions were received and 20 countries have participated to date. The coordination of logistics requires refinement and I rely heavily on technology.

XBIZ: How gratifying is it for you to be leading this project going into its fourth year now?

LH: It is enormously gratifying to exhibit art from around the world. I certainly never dreamed that retailers would want to have the art books. Creating something that people appreciate and desire is indeed affirming. I hope Sin City Gallery and ‘12 Inches of Sin’ will be the Art Basel, Sotheby’s of erotica.  

To view the Kickstarter campaign page, click here.