Interview by Andrew Gallix

Southern BelleSardax, the acclaimed S&M artist, is in his forties and lives in London. He has worked for Leg Show, an American magazine aimed at leg and foot fetishists, and has illustrated many female domination publications like The Governess. Sardax is most famous for his drawings of dominant oriental women.

3AM: When did your artistic career begin?

S: I started off working for a British fetish magazine called Shiny back in the early Eighties - mostly fetish. My style has changed so much since then, I don't show anything from that time.

3AM: Has your work always revolved around the theme of female domination?

S: I started off drawing straight erotica but always preferred to draw the female as aggressor. Now it is femdom 95% of the time, though oddly I enjoy drawing ponygirls too. I don't know why. Although as it has to be a woman as horse trainer, so I suppose that would make it 100%.

3AM: Does the fantasy element in S&M make artwork a particularly valid vehicle for this proclivity? Do you think that some enthusiasts prefer drawings because photographs of real people cannot live up to their fantasy?

S: Well there should be a strong fantasy element in S&M, but sadly it is a world of just a few well-worn clichés at the moment - the dungeon,the castle . . . yawn. I certainly believe that drawings can take you to places that photographs never can, being as they are reflections of reality. Take that Shanghai Bizarre picture for instance. Where could you photograph that? I wish more people would realize the full potential of artwork and stop just trying to copy photos.

3AM: Is there a link between your painstaking work and the pain that your submissive male characters feel? When you draw, are you not the slave of the dominant females you are drawing?

S: I once had a mistress who ordered me to make a drawing of her for her and this inspired me enormously. The devotion one feels to dominant women does reflect itself in the devotion to their image. Art is such a stern mistress!

3AM: You must spend a long time on each drawing or watercolour: does the excitement wear off after a while?

S: Yes,of course. Halfway through the drawing it is just a sweat, pure and simple, and you try all sorts of strategies to walk away from it. As I write I look at a piece that I cannot bear to go back to, but normally I know if it will come right or not from the beginning. You only start to love the drawing again as you start reaching the end.

3AM: Are you actively involved in the S&M scene or is art your surrogate, fantasy sexuality?

S: I stand on the periphery, knowing a lot of the people here on the scene without being actively involved. I'm bored with the standard scene, and art provides a perfect way to sublimate one's desires into a form that other people enjoy too.

3AM: Do you find it as easy to draw or paint commissioned fantasies as to draw inspiration from your own?

S: Sometimes I prefer it as it opens out new directions for me. I enjoy getting "under the skin" of the client and giving him the sort of image which he was always looking for but could never find.

3AM: Is your best work (in your eyes) that which corresponds to your fantasies, or are there pictures that you love because you find them stimulating but regard as failures from an artistic point of view?

S: If it fails from an artistic point of view then I don't really want to look at it, so it could not be my best work, but sometimes I draw a quick sketch of a face or something and cannot recapture the same magic as a finished artwork.

3AM: You are famous all over the world, but isn't the emphasis on domination a drawback for your reputation as an artist?

S: Am I? Only within this small genre, I suppose. I don't suppose I will ever be counted as "Modern Art" but who cares about that anymore? As long as I still get a footnote in the history of femdom art I'm satisfied.

3AM: Do you consider yourself primarily as an artist or as a Femdom artist?

S: I am an artist who draws Femdom most of the time - I can draw other things too when occasion demands.

3AM: I imagine you get many private commissions. How many? Enough to live from your art?

S: There are few people interested in Femdom compared to straight sex and people prepared to commission for original work are even fewer, but I have a loyal following of clients/friends who understand my strange wish to be paid for what I do.

3AM: What are you working on right now?

S: The big project just now is the sequel to La Dominatrice (see the "news" page on Sardax's site), provisionally entitled Slaves of Isis which will not only have a cover but also 10 full page illustrations. I am greatly inspired by the writing itself and I've tried to make it something extraordinary. It should be appearing around November. Otherwise I am still wrestling with Shanghai Bizarre as and when I get the chance.