I’ve had a crush on Chloe Kovska’s work since I first spotted it on Instagram a few years ago. That delightful riot of bubble butts, red devils and Playboy Rabbit Heads nestled deep into my brain, where my inner child waits impatiently for me to go senile. Kovska has the ability to reduce forms to the essential, paying tribute to the American tattoo tradition and Golden Age comics and cartoons while adding her own primal twist. It’s as though Tex Avery, Sailor Jerry and Robert Crumb got together and hosted an orgy at the Playboy Mansion. In her words, “I paint desires, urges, dreams, inspirations and memories with lovers, dressed up in cartoons.” ¶ I learned that Kovska grew up in Melbourne, Australia, where her father taught her to paint. She has shown her artwork in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami, but she mostly keeps to herself, preferring that the details of her life remain obscure. She likes to use canvas or cardboard and acrylic paint, which dries more quickly than oil and keeps colors bright—all the better to bring her kinky, trippy pop-cartoon visions to life. ¶ I contacted her to get a piece to hang above my desk and another to be tattooed on my arm. I have tried not to fall in love with her, but it’s hard: Aside from her gifts as an artist, Kovska is as sweet and beautiful as you would imagine. Ultimately, I prefer to sit in the audience, like Avery’s Big Bad Wolf, my eyes bursting out of my head at Chloé Kovska’s pink panthers, gorgeous goddesses and red-hot riding hoods.
This story appears in the October 2016 issue of Playboy. Subscribe