Many Libidex fans will be aware that all our latex garments are made with latex from our sister company Radical Rubber, one of the world’s largest supplier of sheet latex intended specifically for clothing manufacture.

However, a very talented British artist by the name of Michelle Mildenhall has been proving for more than a decade now that sheet latex can have other creatively fetishistic applications too!

Based on England’s south coast, Michelle creates pop art style portraits — many of them with kinky themes — using the very same sheet latex that the scene’s top designers use for their garments.

Michelle first experimented with latex as an art medium while studying textiles and surface pattern at Somerset College of Arts. But it was only later, while working as a commercial graphic artist in London, that she saw the potential for using latex to “create something unique in the art world”.

“The idea came in a flash of inspiration while I was working on a latex outfit for myself,” she reveals. She began experimenting with building up images by layering carefully cut pieces of latex in a way that created highly stylised portraits — kinky caricatures, you might even call them — from a minimal number of elements and a narrow palette of colours.

Her portraits range from instantly recognisable figures such as Queen Elizabeth. David Bowie, Marilyn Monroe, Frida Kahlo, Margaret Thatcher and Vladimir Putin (some given humorous makeovers), to various more fetishy or BDSM-themed characters (for which she is sometimes also the model), such as gagged, blindfolded, collared, masked or hooded women.

Her portraits are created first as large originals in layered latex, and these original pieces can be purchased. But she also makes archival photographic images of each piece, and these are used not only to recreate any latex original should one be requested, but also to produce more affordable print versions on fine art paper, ready for framing.

Michelle’s work is regularly exhibited ‘in the flesh’ in the UK and beyond, both at mainstream galleries and venues or events with more of an alternative association. He most recent work, Guardsman?, featuring a ceremonial royal guard wearing a bearskin, lipstick and eye shadow, was created for the exhibition Women of Mass Distraction, which runs until April 6 at Stella Dore Gallery in St Leonards, East Sussex.

Meanwhile at London’s East Art Gallery in Hackney Wick until April 7, Michelle has two original latex pieces alongside some handmade spanking paddles and some prints in the gallery’s Kink exhibition, which also features the work of 40 other artists of pervy inclination.

Michelle Mildenhall with her latest latex portrait “Guardsman?’

Michelle Mildenhall’s latest latex portrait ‘Guardsman?’ poses gender-bending question!

Michelle Mildenhall’s graphic for East Art Gallery’s Kink group show including her work

Handmade spanking paddle featuring detail from Michelle’s ‘Pervy Pussy’ portrait

Michelle Mildenhall print selection featuring some of her pervier images