russell alton

7

These are the works from my recent show at Hot Art Wet City, alongside Russell Alton (we did some wonderful collaborations which I’ll post soon). This body of small work was sort of a new beginning for me. I spent months beforehand really asking myself some serious questions about what I wanted it to say. I wasn’t able to work full-time for a long while because of tendonitis and carpal tunnel in my hands, so I had probably too much time to think. It really came down to how I wanted to portray women and what I was going to do differently from past work. 

Nudity has become an issue for me, which I am a bit sad about because the female body is beautiful, but at the same time it is used too often in so much of the imagery and media that we encounter. I truly believe that the nude body is the default form in which to depict a human being, not something to be ashamed of or hidden. But, I want to demonstrate a counterpoint to the very insidious notion that the value of women is tied to our bodies and our availability, because it very much is in our society and I had bought into that belief without even realizing it. So I sat down with my camera and took many reference photos with clothing that I love to wear and then I started to draw sketches from them. I discovered how much clothing can inform the style of an artwork (ever heard of Emilie Flöge?), and how it can interact with the body in interesting ways. Suddenly there is new space to convey ideas. I’ve always loved fashion and the way I could use it to protect myself or give myself confidence, how it can communicate so much yet also be purely frivolous and not to be taken seriously.

I will most certainly be painting nudes in the future, but I can now approach them in a way that speaks of our humanity, autonomy, diversity and all the other things that we are beyond lovely breasts and bums (as great as those things are!).