“Here’s a gts/vore story premise that needs to die,” Saftkeur commented in Twitter. “A group of radical feminists takes over by shrinking and punishing all the males. Yes, let’s both fetishize and demean feminism all in one stroke! It’s perfect.” They added a sarcasm marker for the especially dense reader, just in case.
My heart pounding—how often do you get to speak to someone whose work you so admire?—I nonchalantly expressed surprise that this plot point hadn’t died out. Personally I recalled it from the turn of the century, variations on militant radical feminists gaining the technology to shrink world leaders down… and swallowing them, for no plausible reason (no one’s heard of kuru or Creutzfeldt–Jakob?). Saftkeur said they saw this premise recur monthly on GiantessWorld. Then we talked about men converting their paranoia into erotic fantasy, a method well-entrenched in mid-20th century science fiction.
And then we just started talking. This thrilled me because I’ve long been a fan of Saftkeur. I don’t know much about them: because of their name I’d assumed they’re French, but if so they’re impeccably fluent in English. According to their FAQ they’re a 3D digital artist whose oeuvre centers on young women with insanely long tongues. If you’ve plunged deep into giantess/shrink vore image searches, you’ve likely seen a lot of Karbo and Saftkeur.
Their style is unmistakable: young women (Saftkeur is very clear they’re all older than 18—converted from Paeratopa-years?) with enormous, glowing, haunting eyes and glistening, serpentine tongues rendered in as much detail as you could desire. They show off their tongues, they compare them against each others’, and they lash out directly at the camera (these usually make my heart skip a beat).
Saftkeur also discusses their process and thoughts at length on yet another Tumblr, Nonkeur. There, and on their Twitter account, they come across as a thoughtful, well-spoken, rigorously dedicated artist with a wry sense of humor.
(You’ll note their preferred pronoun is “they/their”—they like their privacy, and they identify with nonbinary gender expression. If this pronoun usage seems ungainly to you, pick up a book: Shakespeare, Thackeray, and Chaucer all employed epicene they; it has seen constant usage in spoken and written English for over six centuries. It’s not new, is my point.)
Saftkeur: Someone on Instagram has been posting my work and deleting all credit back to me, and people have figured it out. Inbox full of pitchforks. I feel bad for this person, but that’s what happens when you post stolen work, delete comments, and block the original artist…
Aborigen: That’s generous of you. I would’ve stopped at “fuck that guy”.
Saftkeur: They attracted quite a bit of attention it seems. They had three times as many followers as I do, amazingly. Seems fixed now, though: all the posts got deleted, they unblocked me, and I think they posted an apology of some sort? Hard to tell because it’s all in Portuguese. I can’t read it, unfortunately, and in the end they still never provided any credit to me, which is a shame because they could be such a big supporter. They weren’t trying to claim credit for the work, but they were being really secretive of who the original artist was.
Aborigen: That’s kind of an adventure. How strange, you think they’d just fade away or something. I don’t see the point in keeping the credit to you a secret, if they like your work that much. It’s counter-productive.
Saftkeur: I think they were enjoying the feeling of being a “distributor”, so to speak. I don’t really know. Even odder, I think it’s mostly teenage girls. My art is popular as an “aesthetic” sort of thing, because it’s 3D and weird.
Aborigen: I’ve long enjoyed your work. It challenged/shocked me at first but I’m quite into it now.
Saftkeur: I’m happy to hear it! I hadn’t quite intended to end up with such a strange style, but I’ve come to enjoy it too.
Aborigen: Really! I assumed you’d had a vision that you worked to bring into being. This was an evolution?
Saftkeur: It mostly started off as experimenting with 3D, for fun! As I got better, it just settled where it is now. Before all of this, I only did digital painting, so my 3D work leaned towards that anime-esque style as a result.
Aborigen: How interesting. Was that guided by viewer feedback, or did you key into something in yourself and pursue that?
Saftkeur: The latter, I suppose. I got into 3D without any intention of making “art”, it was more of a game to me. I wasn’t planning to become a fetish artist either, I just did fetish stuff because I wasn’t planning to post anything anyway.
Aborigen: Just putting crazy stuff up online for the sake of doing something new and unusual?
Saftkeur: I posted it mostly on a whim, and because I had a DA account just for favoriting things. I hadn’t expected people to like it. Actually seeing people enjoy the same stuff I did was the tipping-point, so I started to post more and more.
Aborigen: What was it like to start receiving positive feedback on teen girls with enormous tongues, initially?
Saftkeur: Kinda weird! But reassuring, too. (They didn’t look so young at the time, and that’s actually unintentional; they’re all 18+.)
Aborigen: I know you’ve developed a background for your characters, I’m just projecting how it may have appeared outsiders.
Saftkeur: Yeah, and that’s one thing I’m not too thrilled by. I’ve come to enjoy this style, but it doesn’t convey exactly what I see.
Aborigen: That’s tricky. I suppose the same goes for many artists and writers, trying so hard to nail down what’s in our minds.
Saftkeur: Exactly. What might seem obvious to the creator could be nigh-invisible to the consumer. For me, it’s the nuances of my character’s personalities, and the reality of their appearance. Still not quite there yet!
Aborigen: I suppose one can set up a highly informative website to explain some things, but how else does one get around that?
Saftkeur: Yeah, a personal wiki or encyclopedia is something I’ve toyed with! There’s just so much work involved in creating such a thing. This [Saftkeur indicated the image of a giantess named Jasmine] was a part of my initial launch, if you were curious! This and one other picture, which I guess I deleted… She was a character of mine right when I started designing Paeratopa, too. And right before I really got into vore. I think her original design was simply a giantess that enjoyed licking people, very in-depth design and all that.
Aborigen: Seriously. If you’re dividing most of your time between work and art (if not the same), it’s hard to set that up unassisted.
Saftkeur: Indeed. Felarya wiki is a big inspiration to me, but that was done with help. And I haven’t posted enough info to begin with. Hard to expect assistance when all the important details are still in your own head (or undecided!).
Aborigen: That calls for a creative partner, someone who knows to ask all the right questions. A rare gem.
Saftkeur: That, and/or the ability to pare things down to a proper “elevator pitch”, a skill I’m still working on.
Aborigen: Going back to Jasmine… Was that gentle-giantess licking-thing what you were into before delving into vore? Had it been your intention, up to that point, to keep Jasmine gentle in your motif?
Saftkeur: Jasmine was—and still is—absolutely a gentle character, exactly as you described: a giantess with a strange penchant for licking people, but without causing harm. It’s something I loved to fantasize about, and even after I started to develop an interest in vore, characters like Jasmine retained that gentleness, either refraining from swallowing or having some other means of protecting their prey. I honestly forget if Jasmine ever had a middle-ground interest in swallowing and then releasing tiny people, though in the brief window of time when both Jasmine and Paeratopa existed (she was pre-Paeratopa), she had a short period where one of her abilities was essentially being a walking portal, so getting eaten by her allowed her prey to travel wherever they wished. It made more sense at the time.
Aborigen: At that time, in her planning stage, pre-Paeratopa, had you planned on developing more giantesses like her? And do you prefer developing groups/communities of characters with names and personalities (as opposed to one-offs and isolated ideas/sketches)?
Saftkeur: I suppose it’d be correct to say I prefer communities rather than one-offs; though Jasmine was unique in her giantess-ness, that was still something that fit into a wider theme. I hadn’t intended to create more giantesses to go along with her—she fit into Paeratopa in her own way—but it’s also true that this uniqueness probably helped to push her out of the spotlight for me.
Aborigen: I think it’s charming, how your fans actually write letters to each of your Paeratopa characters, as well as asking you about your work. They take these women very seriously, that’s got to feel like a mark of success.
Saftkeur: Oh, for sure. There’s a part of me that still craves more, a desire to create not just characters, but a whole world that others can fall in love with; something interesting and detailed enough to inspire others to imagine themselves in it and create their own stories. But the very fact that people can recognize even just a few of my characters is flattering, and it almost always gives me a little thrill to hear someone say a particular character is their favorite.
Aborigen: I’m sure you’ve had your share of inappropriate attention, too, a fan who didn’t respect the boundaries and acted on their entitlement. I won’t ask you to retell any of those incidents, I think kind of request is a shade ghoulish. But when someone tries to cross the line like that, what’s your immediate reaction? How does that make you feel? And, conversely, what are the traits of your favorite kind of fans?
Saftkeur: Thankfully I haven’t had any one interaction that really stands out as so negative, though entitled, inappropriate, and just plain mean comments are a constant for all artists, and it seems doubly so for anyone who ventures into NSFW art. I feel that I’ve been lucky in my experience so far.
The negative stuff sucks when it comes out, simple as that. It doesn’t bother me as much now as it did in the past, I just ignore most of it. I do try to respond to some of them; I think a lot of the time, it’s just ignorance rather than malice, and simply giving them a little reminder that they’re dealing with a human being can have a positive effect. It’s a strange satisfaction when you can coax an intelligent discussion out of a “WTF is this” comment, just by answering in a friendly manner.
When it comes to more positive attentions, I appreciate every little bit! But by far my absolute favorite trait is simple, genuine interest. It’s always validating to have someone express a real desire to know more about me or what I create.
Aborigen: Lastly, how did you pick your name? It looks French, but I won’t guess at which nation you’re housed in. What does the signature initialism in the corner of your illustrations represent? I get that it’s an SK, but it’s stylized to resemble something, I think.
Saftkeur: That’s a story that goes back to my first budding interests in vore. I already knew I liked tongues, and giantesses, and mouthplay, even foodplay… pretty much everything about vore, minus the part where prey gets swallowed and digested. At the time I had little-to-no knowledge of the variety of vore that existed—I didn’t know there was soft and hard, non-fatal, or any of that stuff. So, I just decided on my own that my interest was best described as “softcore” vore. You can probably see where this is going; I twisted the spelling and the pronunciation until I had something that felt unique, and it grew into a name of its own.
The smaller initial signature of mine is pretty simple really, I just took the signature I’d already made for myself—the unique shape of the S and the K born from a session of lazily doodling my own name until something cool popped out—and then later, when I wanted something smaller, I just pushed those two letters together. Honestly there’s no other changes to their shape besides erasing the bottom line from the K, it just naturally created this nice little spiral shape in the middle and I was immediately happy with it.
Aborigen: This is kind of cheating, but are there any questions you wish people would ask of you?
Saftkeur: Honestly, I think that’d just go back to my “favorite traits” thing, I like when people ask genuine questions about my work, there isn’t any one particular question I want to see (and if there is, it’s constantly changing). I like questions about my character’s personalities, about their hobbies, their favorite foods… any excuse to talk about what makes them who they are and why I enjoy them so much.
Aborigen: This has been a real honor, speaking to one of my favorite artists like this. Thanks so much for your time.
Saftkeur: Hey, no problem! I’m glad you enjoyed the chat!