(Note: This story appears in the April 2022 issue of SE Magazine)
Miami-based Dafne Blade won the debut contest with a painting and a throne sculpture featuring 100 Magic Wands.
Back in fall 2021, Vibratex — the sole North American importer of the Magic Wand brand — announced the winner of its inaugural “Pleasure as Art” artist commission search: Dafne Blade, a Miami-based artist.
Vibratex commissioned a sculpture by Dafne Blade which consisted of a painting and a throne made from 100 (unsellable) Magic Wands.
After some pandemic-related setbacks, Magic Wand had Dafne Blade’s winning piece on display during the Altitude Intimates Show in March.
Attendees were invited to interact with the work of art and snap pictures.
Ken Herskovitz, CEO of Vibratex, said the idea for a Magic Wand art contest came up during team conversations spanning several topics.
“During the marketing discussion, we noted a recent surge of Magic Wand-inspired fan art appearing on social media,” recalls Herskovitz. “Later, discussing operations, we were reviewing our warranty process and unsellable wands resulting from initial defect or damaged packaging. In one of those ‘How have we missed this opportunity before?’ moments, the concept for the contest was born.”
The most important factor in how the contest would be judged was eliminating sales and commercial gain from the equation.
“To accomplish that,” Herskovitz says, “we knew we needed outside opinions who were familiar with the brand but totally impartial to how the resulting design might be viewed from a business perspective.”
In the end, Vibratex selected a former adult retail executive, a prominent sex educator, and the chairperson of an LGBTQ non-profit organization as well as Vibratex founder Suzi Spielberg to participate in the judging. The individual selections of the entire Vibratex team were averaged into one vote.
“While the ultimate tally was not unanimous, Dafne’s design earned the most votes — and we couldn’t be more pleased,” beams Herskovitz. “Their attention to the impact Magic Wand has had on society flooded every aspect of the concept. I know that, though difficult to select from among several great submissions, the judging panel made the right choice.”
We didn’t want this project to be about selling wands … Our goal for retailers was to create something they could temporarily display, either in their stores or in cooperation with a local gallery or event space. The combined press exposure and local buzz should create great interest, but it’s the bond with the brand that really gets top billing. — Ken Herskovitz
As if 100 Magic Wands resembling the Iron Throne from the smash TV show “Game of Thrones” could seriously be threatened?
Herskovitz says Dafne’s labor of love took months of work, probably even more than he could estimate.
It’s a reflection of dedication that while admirable, does pose its own logistical headaches.
While Herskovitz hopes to see “Pleasure as Art” continued in the future, he did admit that crating and moving art pieces of this size and weight was a “learning experience.
“Once we have everything ironed out, future initiatives might not seem so daunting,” he continues.
And while Magic Wand is clearly synonymous with Dafne Blade’s work of art, Herskovitz is adamant he wants “Pleasure as Art” to be devoid of business interests.
“We didn’t want this project to be about selling wands,” says Herskovitz. “Our goal for retailers was to create something they could temporarily display, either in their stores or in cooperation with a local gallery or event space. The combined press exposure and local buzz should create great interest, but it’s the bond with the brand that really gets top billing. As a non-commercial art project, we’re already receiving mainstream press attention that illustrates the fact that Magic Wand is a brand with a life of its own.”
At the time of writing this story, the Altitude Intimates Show had not taken place, which meant Herskovitz and Vibratex couldn’t describe in detail the piece’s reception.
“We’re hearing a lot of excitement about seeing it in person,” says Herskovitz. “In full transparency, it’ll be the first time I see it in person, too!”
For more information, visit vibratex.com.