Given that the toy has long sparked creativity from its users, Vibratex — the only North American importer of Magic Wand — decided to hold a contest aptly called “Pleasure As Art.” The winner, Miami-based artist Dafne Blade, designed and crafted a sculpture made of over 100 decommissioned wands that’s not only stunning, but evocative of Game of Thrones.
Dafne Blade sits in front of their Pleasure as Art sculpture.
The Pleasure As Art contest called on creators to create “magic” with 100 wands that were unsellable, like if they were damaged in transit or defective. Vibratex believed the challenge would illustrate customers’ broad and artistic love for the Magic Wand, according to its CEO Ken Herskovitz.
He and others at Vibratex were floored by the entries. “As we reviewed the submissions, the varied interpretations of pleasure and intimacy made it clear that we’d underestimated the power of what we’d started,” he said.
The submissions proved that the Magic Wand wasn’t just a physical product to consumers, Herskovitz continued. It was an immediately-recognizable symbol of individuality that inspired passion. Other entries envisioned the wand as a life force — some as a living being, and even one as a three-dimensional DNA strand.
Blade themself found out about the contest just five days before submissions closed, and was so enthralled they created a concept and submitted it before the deadline.
Concept drawing of Blade’s sculpture.
Their submission stood out primarily because of how they communicated their vision, Herskovitz explained. Although they hadn’t yet built the sculpture, Blade submitted sketches, pages of images that inspired them, design details, and an in-depth written narrative in which the Magic Wand was reimagined as a living being.
Beyond the amount of work Blade sent, it was that story that impressed the judges. Herskovitz called their concept amazing. “Despite reviewing several other powerful entries, our panel of judges agreed that Dafne was the one,” he said.
Once declared the winner, Blade went to work on bringing their concept to life. Vibratex sent them 120 wands — over the original 100 they thought they’d have to work with — and ended up incorporating all but three in their sculpture.
First, they constructed a base made from wood and foam. Next, they sculpted out the foam into a throne-like shape and attached the wands with screws. The final step of the arduous process was adding in the details, like painting in the crevices.
The creation was very much a challenge, Blade told Mashable. Along with their team — their parents — they worked tirelessly through Thanksgiving and Christmas to complete it. “I ended up dedicating 12 to 15 hours every single day of December just to pump out this work,” they said.
Through it all, however, Blade kept the meaning of the sculpture, pleasure as art, in mind to keep going. Given this symbolism, they found it important to give it their all. “There was a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into it,” they said.
One side of the piece has a “portal” that Blade painted, containing a genderless entity made of the Magic Wand. This figure is not only in control of their sexuality, Blade explained, but is also giving consent to be seen by others by turning their chest — vibrator buttons — “on.”
“Portal” side of Blade’s Pleasure as Art sculpture.
The other side, meanwhile, has a seat for people to be the center and in control of their own sexuality as well. Blade didn’t intend this to have Game of Thrones vibes, but they’re not mad about it. “It was a happy accident,” they said. They’re most looking forward to seeing people’s expressions and how they interact with it.
The sculpture was Blade’s first foray in somewhat-explicit art (though this piece isn’t fully explicit), and they hope to continue to portray sexuality and sensuality in their work going forward.
It takes vulnerability and strength to touch on these subjects in art, Blade said, especially coming out of an academic environment (they recently graduated from the School of Visual Arts). “It’s kind of like eye opening that I can go in that direction and to also ask myself, ‘Am I okay with being perceived in that way?'” they said.
Ultimately, yes, they said. Seeing other non-binary artists of color helped them come to terms with who they are, and that’s a direction they want to go in.
“It’s…important for me to give my own voice,” they said, “and also be able to make art from my perspective.”