Group 4

Fungal Fancy is finding beauty in the grotesque

The multimedia artist on subverting sexuality and breaking body norms


“I think grotesque and sexy is a power thing, as well — it’s this sort of powerful female character that doesn’t care that they’re gross because they’re not sticking to sexual norms”. Eve Shashoua aka Fungal Fancy combines prosthetics, costume and sculpture to reinterpret the femme experience. Whether it’s a giant boob or a piece inspired by the idea of an otherworldly creature trying to transform into the stereotype of an attractive woman, her work playfully subverts expectations around sexuality and the body. We caught up with Eve to chat breaking boundaries for femme bodies, censorship and the sexiness of silicone. 

Tell us a bit about the kind of work you create.

My work is sort of a mix between prosthetics, costume and sculpture. 

What is there anything in particular that inspired you to start making prosthetics?

I've always been interested in the human form. When I was younger, I was really scared of mannequins. I think it's that uncanny thing;  like it looks like a human, but something about it doesn't feel quite human. Still, you know it's supposed to be. I think that's just stayed with me and developed. I'm not scared of mannequins anymore, but I like things that are a bit 'off'.

Beauty to me is sort of a contrast of things. It's a really hot person with a big stain on their T- shirt. I think that's really beautiful.

Eve Shashoua

How do you incorporate sexuality into your work?

I guess a lot of my work has sexuality naturally woven into it because of the nature of what it is; I mean tits, nipples, the most sexualised part of a femme body. Also, silicone, which a lot of my work is made out of, is quite a sexy material. A lot of sex toys are made out of it. And I think that connotation with the material, everyone knows how it feels… that sort of stretchy, silky, skin-likeness. 

What does beauty mean to you?

Beauty to me is sort of a contrast of things. Maybe it's a really hot person with a big stain on their T- shirt. I think there's beauty in that. 

What intrigues you about the disgusting and grotesque?

It's about challenging this fake way of presenting femme bodies and making them even faker. Grotesque and sexy is also a power thing - like this female type character who doesn't care that they're gross because they're not sticking to social norms. Looks can be like a barrier and constrictive if you stick to norms; maybe it's like breaking that down.

Can you tell us about your experience within the kink community?

Many people tend to link my work with kink, because one, all of the explicit content and also it's something that deviates from conventional sexual norms. I think that’s something I’m challenging because people associate mainstream sex with conventional beauty, and I’m opting to create pieces that may be considered grotesque yet maintain a sexual element to them. This element of forbiddenness allows me to  explore beyond this.

What's your point of view on censorship?

A few of my photos have been taken down from Instagram for being inappropriate because of the nipples and so I've started blurring them out, which is kind of funny because they’re made of rubber.  But maybe it's a good thing as it shows that AI can recognise I'm trying to make a nipple.

A lot of people assume that drag is just what they see on RuPaul’s Drag Race but it's so much more than that. What kind of drag queens approach you for commissions and what kind of work have you done for them?

I've worked with Miss Hernia. She is a fatberg Princess who sings about discharge sandwiches and puts potatoes where potatoes shouldn’t go (haha).  I made a mask for her that was inspired by all the gross things found in the fatberg with some bumhole flower type things and toes thrown in. Fanny Bleach is also an incredible performer I’ve worked with. I had a lot of fun making her a huge mono-boob. It fills my heart with joy every time a video of her performing in it pops up on my Instagram. It’s great seeing people bring my work to life. 

What’s the concept behind your latest piece?

My idea behind this latest piece started from pictures I've taken where my hand is coated in silicone or when the silicone is still wet; the mould is something soft and shiny, encapsulating something hard. So the initial idea came from wondering if there was a way to make this feel more permanent. Then I looked at many sea creatures with translucent outer skin, where you can see a more opaque, harder part of themselves inside, sometimes floating. Making various prosthetics, I see it as a temporary way to adapt and transform a body. So I think the basis of this idea is some alien/other being/cyborg/robot trying to transform into what they have learnt as an attractive human. Maybe it has come to earth and somehow got hold of one of those cheap, blowup sex dolls, and they're modelling themselves on that. I want the different elements to be seen as interchangeable. You could slot in a different shaped boob if you wanted.

What is one piece of advice you would give an artist starting out?

Don’t be scared that no one is going to like your work, because a lot more people might like it than you think.