Sugar and Spice: An Interview With Pin-up Artist Wishcandy

by Emma Orlow

When I think of pin-up drawings, I usually think of women sprawled out in compromising positions. But artist Sashiko Yuen puts a new twist on pin-ups with her beautifully imaginative drawings. Yuen’s characters are tougher than your average calendar girls– be they snacking on body parts, gazing at the viewer menacingly or sporting loads of tattoos. The artist adds in playful pastel bouffants, vintage silhouettes, and odd dessert-themed adornments (some of these might fit into Katy Perry’s dream wardrobe). I had the pleasure of interviewing the artist about some of her inspirations.

BUST: Your alias is Wishcandy—to me it’s perfect, considering the dreamy-sweet aspect of your work. Why did you choose the name?

I came up with it about seven years ago. I wanted something to describe my work and personality. It’s a very sweet name, and sort of deceptive, compared to some of the dark work I’ve created. Which is exactly what i wanted–some contrast. I don’t run around wearing pastels, I love black. It shocks people when they meet me.

BUST: I read in an interview that when you started drawing in this style, you had to hide the drawings from your father. How has your childhood and parents manifested in your artwork?

Oy. I was very restricted in some ways growing up. My parents were supportive of me creating art, as long as it was rated PG. To be fair, only my dad lectured me. He though me drawing nude figures wasn’t appropriate. Once I moved away from home I was able to grow and be more honest with myself. During college I was able to explore violence, eroticism, and surrealism. After graduating I began to become more interested in incorporating fashion, pop culture, and nostalgia, which is what you see now.

BUST: Do you consider yourself a feminist? Why/how does it inform your artwork?

I am most definitely a feminist! Equality, being open-minded, and ignoring societal expectations fuels my work. Sort of wrote a rally cry about it on my blog, I just want people to be exactly who they are. No shame. There’s always struggle on the road to finding ourselves, we don’t need anyone to make us feel bad about whom we really are.

BUST: What is the relationship between food and feminism for you?

Food represents fun, comfort, and societal expectations. It’s a mixed message. There’s some body standard that the media, strangers, and even our families want us to conform to. I say we don’t have to. Rock what you have! 

BUST: Your creations often have numerous tattoos, do you have any yourself?

Hahaha, yeah tattooed babes everywhere! Yet I don’t have any ink. I love tattoos, it’s a great extension of personality. I have this rule where if i can keep the same idea for one year, i’ll get my first tattoo. But my mind always changes… 

BUST: There’s a mixture of whimsy and teen angst that reverberates through your art. How are you able to tap into that teenage mind?

My mind and my work is highly perfumed with rebellion, which is what you’re picking up on. I want people to know growing older doesn’t mean being miserable and giving up your dreams. Anything is possible. These beliefs are in teens and i don’t want them to die when they become “adults”. Let’s have hope and work hard!

BUST: Lastly, obviously candy and dessert is a present motif in a lot of your art. What’s your favorite sweet to eat or draw?

My favorite dessert to eat lately has been any sort of pastry/cookie and ice cream combo: ice cream cookie sandwiches or Oreo milkshakes. Though my roommate makes a mean apple pie. Pink glazed donuts are the most fun to draw! So cute and round.

To check out more Wishcandy art, click here.

Images courtesy of Wishcandy


You may also like

Get the print magazine.

The best of BUST in your inbox!

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter

About Us

Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

©2023 Street Media LLC.  All Right Reserved.