Erin M. Riley is a Brooklyn-based artist who tries to be real and express herself through works of sext, porn and modern femininity – with wool and weaving.

From selfies to weaving

It all started when Erin accidentally cut her leg while shaving a few years ago. She was preparing to go out and sexting at the same time, so she took a pic of her bleeding leg and sent it. Later on, it became a… tapestry. From that one incident, selfies and mirror pics are becoming traditional art with the help of the artist. M. Riley learned how to weave in 2004, and now she spends up to 12-14 hours a day weaving.

Erin M. Riley Erin M. Riley

Her artistic journey started in college (as she’s an “educated” artist) but she didn’t expect in to end this way – she thought that she would be a fashion designer. “For me, art was one of those things that I started getting into out of necessity; I was a loner and my sketchbooks were my friends. I learned about the idea of art school through my art teacher in high school and never really questioned that concept. I had been sewing since I was 8 and painting and drawing all throughout high school, so I was wrestling between painting and fashion design as my major. When I found out that a fibers department even existed it seemed like the perfect in between to use all of my interests in this vague major,” M. Riley says.

Sharing the personal

After her shaving gush work (which is called “4am Hookup Prep” she started asking her friend if they have any pictures of her, so she could make them into art too. Her art is very self-concentrated this way, and her tattooed body is easily recognizable in the tapestries. With them, she shares all her most personal moments: plugging out nipple hair, taking extremely sexualized naked selfies, dealing with periods and doing drugs. Seems like there’s no taboo for her.

Erin M. Riley Erin M. Riley Erin M. Riley

“When I was younger, sex felt like an affliction. I felt like I had a sex drive like the boys and that something was wrong with me. They were masturbating and horny, and so was I, yet girls weren’t supposed to feel that way. Now I realize it’s just me, I’m a sexual person and I want to be honest about it in my work. Sex isn’t something that happens to us. I ask for it all the time.”

M Riley also makes selfies of other girls and women into tapestries (which feels a bit like voyeurism) – many find that offensive, but she explains that her art was never meant to be predatory and she positions it like a female-orientated thing – in other words, she doesn’t think about men in her auditory at all.


Exploring femininity

Another noticeable part of her art are… porn screenshots which are actually more than just screenshots. She takes them while masturbating, in the very moment when she orgasms – for anyone else it’s just porn, but for the artist it’s something personal. Erin says that this misinterpretation is understandable.

Erin M. Riley Erin M. Riley Erin M. Riley

“Right now I am really inspired by figuring out what it means to be a woman in this world. I am super into challenging the ideas of sexy, and welcoming other women’s input on my work, and I soon will be trying to invite image submissions. I think what inspires me the most as I grow up is that so many of women’s experiences are similar when it comes to dating, being sexy, and trying to be a productive, respected member of society. I am also inspired by the things that are happening in the world, in my family and all around me. I am navigating the experiences we are all sharing and trying to understand how we, as humans, are changing with the world around us, or staying the same”, M. Raily explains.

Subscribe to WM Daily. Be In Touch With Rebellious Voices