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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Grinnell Artists: Cait Mohr


By Hallela Hinton-Williams

Cait Mohr is more than they appear to be.

They’re an artist who likes to portray goofy masochistic scenarios. They’re someone who draws inspiration from the work of 20th century feminist artists such as Yayoi Kusama, Louise Bourgeois, as well as Tom of Finland and Jesse Kanda — those considered “avant-garde queers” that give them daily inspiration because they themselves are an “avant-garde queer.” They’re a citizen who finds themselves in a strange political climate that gleams strength from the “Daily Affirmations for the Revolutionary Proletarian Militant” calendar by Stephanie McMillan. They’re an advocate of everyone listening to Carly Rae Jepsen’s album “Emotion,” but whose art more similarly reflects the aesthetics of “The Money Store” album cover by Death Grips.

Cait Mohr surprises and impresses even more in what they do with their art.

By showing pictures out of their sketchbook, impressive drawings and cartoons born out of pen and ink, Mohr reveals the aesthetic they want to achieve.

“Imagine the sounds you would hear in the bathroom at a gay club at four in the morning. I want to encapsulate that kind of grime,” Mohr said. “Even when I was younger, my art tended to show latent transgender tendencies that reflect who I am today.”

Their art, creates a grimy yet startling sterile picture of fetishes and fantasies. It is through this style that Mohr feels best represented by their art.

“I do a lot of weird cartoonish masochist stuff. I have a really big academic fascination with masochism as a philosophy major. It’s a lot more theatrical than sadism,” Mohr said. “It’s this law that forbids the satisfaction of pleasure through the coercion of pain and punishment, but through this weird state of masochism. It’s like this pain and punishment is necessary and it kind of orders the subsequent pleasure after that. Which I think is really bizarre and I think there’s something funny about that. I’m like a gross philosophy boy.”

Mohr’s art uses strong lines and cartoonish depictions of “gross” topics like masochism, dildos and drugs, and also their own experiences.
Photo by Helena Gruensteidl

Their art brings out strong feelings in those that see it.

“At my first show, I was walking around looking at all the art, and my friend comes up to me and tells me that my piece was, like, turning her on. I was like, oh my god. I was really proud of myself in that moment. I was really high in that moment, like get out of town.”

Mohr’s art allows them to work out their own emotions as well.

“Over the summer … I was figuring out how to relate to people and my relationship to my body and a lot of other sex things, and I think I felt kind of alienated and weird. And I was like, oh, when I feel alienated and weird it reminds me of these semi-sensory deprivation bondage scenarios, so I just drew a lot of stuff like this.”

Mohr doesn’t think about if their art conveys anything whilst they are creating it.

“After [creating a piece], I try to imbue meaning into it. … [It’s] more of this weird exercise in trying to psychoanalyze myself like a year later,” Mohr said. “[Art] is more of an aphysical thing to me. … I just to put down weird aesthetic things floating around in my brain.”

Their love of art started during their childhood in Florida.

“When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time drawing embarrassing furry art, like fan art of my own Neopets with dragon wings shirtless wearing jeans. There was this period of elementary school where we used to have a lot of hurricanes, and I remember  like There were a lot of hurricanes, so I usually sat in my parents closet drawing,” Mohr said. “I’d like to think that if I didn’t suffer through the hurricanes, I wouldn’t be okay at art.”

Mohr is an artist who works primarily in beautiful black ink. They enjoy watching performance art, such as that of Yoko Ono, and also viewing pencil art of men “with balloon-like legs wearing jeans.” An artist who has ventured into “weird internet communities” but has stayed because they remain interested in the aesthetic. An artist who can be viewed at shows around campus and in the new SHIC coloring book and will most likely continue to showcase their art on campus.

Cait Mohr is an artist who ventures towards the “gross” but displays their technique and passion for art in every piece.

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