While Dye, a 30-year-old Brooklyn resident, makes the bulk of her income from webcam modeling and performing as a cake sitter, she considers herself a businesswoman first and foremost. And with MFAs in photography and sculpture from the Pratt Institute, she has the pedigree of the artist she also manages to be.
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In fact, she said she became interested in the world of camming as a photographer but didn’t feel comfortable making art about it until she had tried it out herself. Six years later, it’s still her job, and she has become known for her sexy, messy, modern performances in which she sings songs like the Spice Girls’ “2 Become 1” while grinding on a frosted dessert. Both on cam ― where she prepares the batter in her bed, which is covered by a tarp, and viewers tip to choose the cake’s colors ― and in real life, clad in icinglike pastel and metallic lingerie in gallery spaces and at hip downtown parties, Dye is using cake sitting to explore the boundaries between art, sex and commerce.
And while she knows that sitting on cakes is a funny thing to be known for, she also takes herself ― and her work ― very seriously.
At first, I pretended that my sound didn’t work so I wouldn’t have to verbally respond to people. I wasn’t nervous about the nudity. I was nervous about how my personality would be perceived more than my body. Because I had already seen the array of bodies that are on this site. It wasn’t about ‘Am I hot or not?’ I’m hot to someone. It was more like I hadn’t found my cam persona, or my cam identity, yet.
I’m definitely considered a comedian. Before I was sitting on cakes, I was doing very childlike performances, using donkey hoppers in my show. Inflatables and balloons and kiddie pool toys were always a part of my art and then became a part of my cam set. So I was using things that were in my art to elevate my identity and try to figure out who I am within the space.
So people know me as an artist, but I think they come for a laugh, and that’s kind of where I am now with cake sitting. It’s sexy, but it’s funny, and that’s the duality that’s in my artwork too. It spans dark humor and sarcasm, but it’s coming from a serious place, but it’s still sexy, and people can still masturbate to it.
The story of cake sitting is that I got a private message in my chatroom that someone wanted me to sit on my cat. My cat is a large presence in my chatroom. People know her. They know her name. They tip me when she comes on the camera. And this person was serious, because I received this message multiple times over months.
And so I started researching, and it’s not just something ― it is evil and gross ― but it’s a part of a crushing fetish that starts with small insects and moves up to larger animals. So obviously, I refused to do this, but while I was investigating crushing fetishes, I found cake sitting, which is like the more pure, wholesome version of what this person was asking me to do.