Like Petra Collins, Maggie Dunlap is another young Sagittarius whose work focuses on the exploration of girlhood with amazing results. Dunlap’s work is bold, true and sometimes dark – she does have an illustrated alphabet of serial killers after all. She is a huge Marilyn Manson fan and brings her love of horror and gore into some of her pieces while others are boldly feminist and unapologetic. She’s one of those artists that makes art out of just about anything and someone I recommend getting to know, if only on the internet. Karley Sciortino interviews her here for Slutever which is well worth reading. For me, I felt a lot of Dunlap’s answers were my inner thoughts.
Here is some of Maggie Dunlap‘s work I enjoyed, but you will find more on the web if you dare.
Valie Export’s photograph Action Pants: Genital Panic shows her sitting with genitals exposed while pointing a gun at the viewer. Export’s work draws attention to the ideas of phallic power and whether it truly comes from biology or can be attained otherwise. Export showcases her lack of penis by exposing her own vagina but reclaims the gun as her phallic object and power. It was rumoured that this photograph came after a live performance, where Export walked around people seated in a theatre, her vagina at their eye-level, and pointed a gun at them while offering sex until the theatre was empty. This imagery reminds me of the film Magic, Magic where, post-hypnotism, the female protagonist walks into the room of a man who has been sexually harassing her (verbally) and rubs her naked vagina in his face, all while being asleep. The woman has no recollection of events the next day and appears mortified when the man confronts her about it. This scene acts to remind us that such overt sexuality is not ‘acceptable’ in a woman with both male anger and female humiliation driving this. Export’s photograph works in the opposite way, purposefully pairing femininity with macho aggression (common in a lot of her work) to blur set gender boundaries.
Performance artist and photographer, Claire Doyle, recently paid homage to Export’s work in her performance piece Habitual Body Monitoring: The Costume. Doyle draws attention to female body hair through her performance which you can watch above. The acceptance and freedom of female body hair has been gaining support in recent years with other artists like Petra Collins and Rhiannon Scnhiederman springing to mind.
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Liv Thurley‘s artwork, Weapon, is to die for… and almost in the literal sense. When I first saw this image I wasn’t aware of the materials used and just thought they were gimmicky underwear with rubber bristles sticking out to represent pubic hair. I thought this was pretty cool and how funny it would be to flash people when wearing these knickers. Upon research and discovering the wonderful Liv Thurley, I was pretty happy to discover that these were hundreds (?) of tiny pins – sharp end sticking out. Thus the title, Weapon, becomes even more true. As a woman, I know that vaginas are very much weapons – commonly used against us, but also able to be used by women as personal power and influence. Thurley explains she overheard a group of boys talking about how they would never sleep with a woman if she had pubic hair. Soon after, this brutal creation was formed.
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“If i had my way i would move to the mountains tomorrow, buy a pet goat, and spend all my days painting pictures in a glass walled sunroom.” – Caitlin Shearer.
Caitlin Shearer is an artist from sunny Australia. Her work is really cool, both in style and subject matter – you can expect to see girls and plants and the occasional cat. I found some of her drawings on another website a few days ago which prompted me to google her. I was happy to find more of her work, with certain pieces having a bit more spunk as well as a feminist attitude. Really, I couldn’t have hoped for more! Her blog is filled with sketches, photographs and whimsical words (hence the pull-quote), making it one of those sites to linger on for hours while getting inspired. You can also buy limited edition prints here which I would definitely recommend doing.
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Who needs Three Wise Men when you can have Three Wise Women? In preparation for Christmas, here are some images that can help to get us into the season in a more contemporary fashion. Yeah, that’s right, with female power! I hope you are all looking forward to a great Christmas, whatever way you choose to celebrate! xx
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Gina Martynova aka Starry Eyed Gypsy is a multi-faceted artist who is skilled in both illustration and fashion design. Her latest work, ‘Starry World’ is inspired by Tibetan Buddhism, especially the use of female buddhas in this culture. Martynova has a diverse cultural background, being of Russian and Chinese decent and living in Thailand for most of her years until pursuing her own travel to New York, London, Moscow and India. Her work explores multicultural beauty, drawing from her personal experiences as well as those she encounters on her travels. A bit of a day-dreamer, Martynova’s work is filled with whimsy and self-expression, while in each work there is also a lot of symbolism, all of which combines to express her unique position in this world. These stunning images are from her ‘Starry World’ series.
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Photography student, Prue Stent, is pretty much amazing. Her latest series, Pink, explores what it means to be a woman through questioning contemporary beauty standards. Women, body parts and other objects are used, along with the beautiful colour pink. Her work is truly captivating and Stent explores her subject matter with perfection. Here are a few snaps that I adore, but to see the rest, plus her other outstanding series, then visit her website for all that goodness. Enjoy! x
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The amazing Martine Johanna is currently exhibiting at Walls gallery, Amsterdam. Her exhibition ‘The Grand Illusion of Sanity’ looks at the history of women being made to feel like they can’t speak, that their minds are not sound and the misconception of female hysteria. These issues are really important as (sadly) many women still battle with them today. When we speak up it is easy for men to say we are ‘crazy’, ‘on the rag’ and other grossly untrue comments used to try to ‘put us in our place’ (The kitchen? The bedroom? Certainly not in front of a microphone or keyboard. I should get a wrist slap right now!) I have always enjoyed Johanna’s work and especially love these pieces from her current exhibition. I hope you do too! Oh, but whether you do or don’t, make sure you don’t say something hysterical, it’s only art after all!
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So today I am sharing something a little different to my usual visual-based posts. Lately I have found some really good, really fierce poetry that looks at the portrayal of women and race in popular culture. Of course we all know how skewed the world is and that mainstream music, film and literature often adds fuel to the fire – the white male view-point reigning supreme. These two talented women use their words to reevaluate what so many people just accept as normal. I’ve added a few images that I feel work with the essence of this post and, well, just because I am The Visual Female after all. The above image is by Pieter Hugo (which I got the privilege of seeing at an exhibition a few years ago), and the other two are taken from new wave classic Pierrot Le Fou (1965). Please take the time to watch both clips, they are very powerful and worthwhile.
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It’s Miley on Monday, with the assistance of surrealist artist and filmmaker, Quentin Jones. I love the track that goes with these fun and sensual images. The black and white palette works to enhance the bondage aspects of the piece which is visually interesting and unique. As debatable as Miley has been in the past year, I love that she doesn’t put herself under the male gaze. Her body and sexuality is always connected to her, and her personality and agency is apparent. There is nothing better than seeing women collaborate to make art that isn’t afraid of sexuality and is above aiming to please the male gaze. I hope you enjoy this video.
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I love the connections between these photographs by Francesca Woodman. Both are feminist pieces (and obviously stunning!) in my opinion. The first positions Woodman’s girl-like face and ribbon with a more developed body through breasts and underarm hair. I really dig this part of the image because it is really quite subtle but entirely transforms the image from look at me to what are you looking at? So much strength and power as woman is conveyed.
The second image is cropped in a similar way and while the subject matter is also similar it expresses another concept. The idea of submission and rape come to my mind. Woodman’s face and body language retreat, her arms up and blank face saying ‘take me’, ‘do what you want with me’. Her hands scream I am innocent, don’t shoot through a familiar gesture, but the painted hand on Woodman’s chest indicates violation, unacknowledged hands. We can tell it is her hand that she has painted around, but ideas of other hands touching her come to mind. Combined with her submissive position, and the police aspects (hands up, painted body outline from crime scenes) this adds a sinister aspect which really makes the image so amazing. Francesca Woodman, you were one talented photographer. Thank you for sharing yourself with us, we are lucky.
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I found Rhiannon Schneiderman‘s ‘Lady Mane’ series on The Ardorous (curated by Petra Collins) and fell in love with both the concept and execution. These amazing self-portraits reclaim pubic hair in a refreshing, beautiful manner. As women have fallen out with pubic hair, choosing to wax, shave, pluck and attempt anything for it to go away, I am happy to see a generation returning affection to the bush. Schneiderman’s series is all about empowerment, reclaiming femininity as a woman rather than adhering to male-approved versions. The series is powerful and highlights the hilarity of the modern-day emphasis given to make ones genitals fashionable. Each ‘lady mane’ is different and reminds us that, yes, it is okay to do whatever we want with out pubic hair. It is ours, nobody else should get a say. Here’s my four favourite pieces from the eight-part series. Enjoy x
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I came across this image today in a blog post showcasing historical images that reflected the changing times and the enduring humanity of people. Some pieces were serious while others were of a more humorous nature, like the four person bicycle that allowed Mum to sit down and continue working on her sewing machine while the family peddled around. (I wonder why that never took off?). Among the selection of images this picture stood out to me. The caption said these were winners in a 1922 beauty pageant and then went on to comment about the changing ideals of beauty. I found that a bit disappointing, because what makes this photo stand out to me is the women’s attitudes towards beauty, rather than whether they are supposed to be fatter, taller, shorter… or whatever the author’s comment was meant to indicate. (I really don’t know). What makes this image worthy of being shared is the wonderful carelessness both winners exhibit. The woman on the left looks away, rather disinterested in the whole thing (looks like there might be a boy she’s eyeing up) and our staunch lady on the right stares out at the camera with complete authority backed up by her open, yet unapproachable body language. There are no false smiles or over-enthusiastic gushing at the ‘honour’ of being crowned good-looking by some panel of (let’s assume, ugly) old men. These women’s attitudes towards the whole charade that is beauty is so refreshing, which makes it even more of a shame that pageants have gone from this to what we know now.
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I’m loving this piece by Nadiia Cherkasova. I always enjoy the ‘unfinished’ look where not all parts or painted or executed to the same degree. In this instance, it works perfectly. The essence created in the face combined with the detail of hair, and then empty space in the hair, the way the collar is filled in but the shirt is only gives a suggestion of pattern and colour. I could go on. Cherkasova’s work has a lovely ethereal nature to it, and this piece especially has a nice fragility to it. I wonder why she signs next to an apple? Can only make me (the feminist thinker) remember Eve and the Garden of Eden. Maybe it aids in the fragile nature of this piece. Before long all the easiness and beauty will be gone.
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I am so in love and so impressed by what Elsa Isabella can do. Her work is truly amazing. Not only is the subject matter great (who doesn’t love a Pin-up girl?) but the size she works in just blows me away. They are so small! Yet so wonderfully detailed. The quality of her work is amazing, especially when you see the scale she is working in. It’s hard to draw small even with a fine pen, but I would find it even harder in charcoal. I don’t know what else to say other than that I am so impressed. So, I am truly happy to be sharing her work here today. You must like her on Facebook where you can see a whole lot more of her outstanding work (I mean, it was pretty hard to limit what I showed here today, so imagine how much more there is!) I have chosen some complete pieces, as well as in progress shots because they look pretty great too. Enjoy xx
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Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter and rather interesting woman. Through her life she suffered greatly as the result from a vehicle accident, where the bus she was on collided with a trolley car. Frida was 18. One result of this was an iron handrail piercing her abdomen and uterus, which meant reproductive trouble. While she conceived three times, she couldn’t carry to term, and had to terminate her pregnancies. She was born on July 6, which makes her the most maternal sign of the zodiac, Cancer. But her accident turned her towards art and painting. She commonly painted self-portraits, as a way to deal with her trauma, but also because she knew herself so well. She has stated “I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.”
Her work is quite captivating, and honest and raw. Her work often had a lot of nature in it, which makes sense to me with Frida being a Cancer whom often love animals. It would make sense that she could be drawn to animals and nature as a way to express her emotions. I like these three pieces by her.
I recently remembered Frida because I noticed that a few artists I follow were doing their own portraits of her. So, I want to share these also. Cate Rangel’s piece connects more to the pain and life of Frida, whereas Liz Clements is very obviously Liz Clements style (which is a great style, but speaks less about Frida as a person). They both have hummingbirds in them, which is interesting.
A wonderful woman worth sharing.
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I love Juxtapoz Magazine’s website. It has so much to offer, and following on Facebook and Twitter keeps you up to date with new artists and artworks. One section that I find quite interesting is the Erotica tab. As you can imagine, it showcases art that has some erotic element. But don’t be too offended prudish people, because the section isn’t as sexual as you might imagine. Rather, pieces have strong sensuality or offer provocative women in a rather subtle way. Of course, some pieces are a bit more out there, but I find this is often connected to culture which is an interesting way to explore erotic art. If you have some spare time, I would recommend going to have a nosey at http://www.juxtapoz.com/ and browsing the Erotica Section. In case you’re not entirely convinced, I have collected a few artists that I discovered there.
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This series by Richard Prince takes black and white photographs of an erotic nature and simply adds CD/DVD labels from famous albums or movies. Each label adds a new context to the image and also works to cover up certain naughty bits. I like the really raw aspect to the pieces, especially when they have hand drawn numbers or details on the edges. Prince also uses self-control when choosing what labels to the add to the images. I can imagine it would be easy to go towards more overt titles that would either be ironic or too literal. Prince shows restraint making the pieces interesting and engaging rather than making them seem like porn titles.
What do you think? Do you like these pieces? Can you think of better titles that you may have used? As always, feel free to let me know. I love comments xx
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It’s time for Round Nine of This vs. That. This month I look at two pieces by Jen Mann. The catch is, that the pieces are actually only one piece (!?). Well, not exactly, but I look at how she has edited an existing piece of hers to make a new piece. Photography, luckily, allows us to see the before and after to which I comment on. Have a read over Round Nine: Visibility and let me know what piece you prefer. Did Jen Mann make the work better? Or should she have left it alone? Or, perhaps it could still be worked on? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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Elizaveta Porodina makes beautiful photography and photo-collages, as seen below. There is a lovely ethereal nature to her work. Very feminine, very dreamy. The soft focus creates a mystical quality and the beautiful women as subject simply enhance this feminine mystique. It is nice to see a softer side to women that isn’t made to appear weak in any way. I see strength in her subjects. And while they may be in vulnerable positions at times, the essence is not of vulnerability. Femininity doesn’t have to mean weakness, and I worry that it can overlap like that in a negative way. Having beauty should make us feel strong and empowered rather than making one feel limited to their appearance. Porodina creates a beautiful balance between feminine softness (through photographic technique and posing) and an unspoken strength of character (from facial expression and essence of the models) that positions femininity in a positive and admirable light.
I have a painting I did a while ago that just never felt finished. I decided that it needed a big black wolf or panther in the frame next to the woman. I thought this would add some kind of sinister element, as right now it just feels a bit bland. Like all true creatives, the painting is still sitting there with no additions. But, in the spirit of pretending like I am thinking about getting started, here are some images that have both woman and wolf. Research, shall we say? Surprisingly, they don’t have as much of a sinister vibe as I was expecting. Enjoy, and one day I will show you my wolf and woman attempt.
** This first piece is by the talented Elsa Isabella. To see her wonderful paper dolls (be intrigued) visit this post about her.
I also found this image below which has both wolves and a black panther. Funny, as I was tossing up between which one to use originally. I think the wolf, but maybe the panther has a stronger sense of evil? I do like the three wolves here as they make me think of witches that have morphing ability. What would you advise? Is the panther perhaps a better choice? Or is it a little predictable with the feline association. I’d love some thoughts before I get started.
I came across this image and instantly thought “How many people would still get married if they had to do it like this?”
I honestly think it would be one of the greatest tests. Marriage is supposed to be the ultimate commitment and declaration of love to one person, so arguably one would (should) do anything for this. But, as a lot of us know, many marriages are short-lived and are never wholly true to begin with – a mere fantasy of ‘better-ness’ that never arrives. I wonder how many women would still want to commit to that man they believe is the one if they had to bare all in-front of family and friends? If marriage really means so much to people, then I believe that they should want to do it under any circumstance. Yet if all marriage really means to them is a chance to dress up and play princess for a day then they need to reconsider what they are doing.
Have a happy weekend x
I found Colette Saint Yves work through Society6, and instantly adored the astronomical aspect to these first pieces. Her work is a mix of photography and collage. Simple, but impressive and very engaging.
After doing a bit more digging I found some more of her work as seen below. There is such a beauty in her art. An enticing, dreamy quality that exudes the feminine.
There are so many talented people in the world making such superb art, it is really inspiring. For all you creatives out there, keep it going. I know I can find it hard to keep creating, but there is real reward when you do, so it is definitely worth it. Happy Friday everyone. Be inspired, be great.
I have always been attracted to paintings that appear somewhat incomplete. There’s one image, I think maybe by Seraphine Pick that stays with me. Different from most of her work, it is simply gouache and pencil and I love the unfinished look. Granted, it is probably just a study that got put into a book, and not a piece she would necessarily exhibit or sell. But the unfinished painting will always interest me. So much is suggestive, and there is a beautiful simplicity. It amazes me how much can be said in such few lines or strokes. Some pieces can be so over worked or have so much detail and yet they fail to convey anything spectacular. Sure, they show a scene, or a person, but within that there is often no essence.
This image, by Agnes-cecile, reminded me of that kind of unfinished art, and I love it. To me, the way the man is gripping the woman has an ambiguous nature. My first impression was that he was an aggressor, and it was a nice portrayal of the way in which men try to control women. The artist’s statement would be that this is an outdated and sad concept, demonstrated through the smudging out / un-finishing of the man. Like he (man) is losing his grip on her (woman). But then on further study I can also see him as a desperate lover that is trying to keep his partner from leaving him. I can see a kind of sadness in him, that his possession of her comes from love and fear of loneliness. Like the parts of him touching her are complete, but the parts further away from her are falling apart – that he needs her to be whole.
It would be interesting to hear what the original intent of the image was. Either way, the woman looks somewhat fearful, whilst remaining calm and strong which I like.
But I really do love the style of painting, especially the way the male figure has been portrayed. It would certainly lose the depth and complexity if the ‘unfinished’ bits had been completed to the standard of the woman’s face etc. As the saying goes, sometimes less is more.
Here’s a selection of pretty iconic / recognizable art works. But, these images below aren’t the originals and have all been edited in some way. Have a nosy.
Now, to me (seeing as I am familiar with art) the alterations seem pretty obvious. It’s a social comment on a subject that’s probably always going to cause some flutter – especially among women. Guessed it yet? Now for the original images.
Cool idea, and a good comment on weight and societal pressures and all that jazz. But, perhaps the question remains, do these slimmed down versions really look any better? I would love to hear some thoughts.
Just a wee collection of art that somehow incorporates animals or nature into a woman’s hair (and a cheat one that just has lots of hair). It seems that connecting women with the natural realm is pretty common. I wonder if it would be harder to find images where women and machinery (for example) were connected somehow? Or men with animals / plants? Anyhow, I hope you enjoy these images x
“Nature has given women so much power that the law has very wisely given them little”
– Samuel Johnson
I thought it would be nice to put up some typography, and seeing as this is a female based blog, why not incorporate the two? I found this stunning image by Stana Tomsej (view more of his work here) which shows a fierce woman constructed mostly out of type. I believe the piece is about women in rock, and you can see names of artists he likes in the piece. I love seeing empowered women who are ready to take you on – and this piece does just that, as well as being pretty sexy and using typography well.
I love how many colours it has been done it, and this gif shows them well, but I also like this image below as it gives you a bit more time to study each piece and colour combination and shows how many different combinations there actually are. That has got to be the best my favourite thing about digital design / art – it is so easy to make changes and alternative versions.
While searching for images I also found my subject matter reversed. So, rather than making an image of a woman out of type, the type has been made out of women. I did find some horrible clip art version where the women are all legs and bums and boobs, but decided not to show that. Instead, I wanted to share this beautiful and sophisticated incorporation of the two.
I love the use of photographs and how only touches of the female are shown. Really evocative and sensual (especially the ‘N’). And then when shown altogether it creates a nice wee alphabet too.
Two really different ways of incorporating women into typography, but both work well for what they are trying to achieve. I must try to do something similar one day. Enjoy x
Ever since I watched Antichrist, the simple pair of scissors have acquired a kind of gruesome vibe. And these images by Audrey Kawasaki certainly made me think Antichrist. I assume they are intended to look malicious in terms of hurting another person. I mean, they do both look pretty ready to take you on. But since Antichrist (which I absolutely loved by the way) I can only think of female self harm. The fact that they are naked undoubtedly adds to this. There’s contradiction in the image. Firstly, the young, innocent body of the girls’ paired with their knowing and semi-psychotic expressions. I can imagine if you were standing there you would be a little creeped out. Like “shit, they’re gonna try stab me with scissors”. But then Antichrist comes to mind and instead they turn on themselves and it’s even more horrific than getting cut yourself. I mean, genital mutilation is probably the most horrific thing. It breaks my heart that some women are subjected to it in certain countries. It’s completely inhumane and disgusting and unfair.
But back to the art. I don’t know how someone who hadn’t seen Antichrist would approach these images. I assume in a different way. I’d say they are universally sinister images (and fabulous in their accomplishment of that) but to me they will always have that extra association. Nevertheless, great work again by Kawasaki.
And, if you haven’t seen Antichrist, you must check it out. Especially if you are interested in gender explorations. Although, I might recommend watching with a few glasses of wine!
Audrey Kawasaki’s work is undoubtedly intriguing, beautiful and well worth googling. I love how she paints on wood panels. Not only because you see the grain, which adds its own tone and texture, but because I adore the kind of see-through look in general. It’s simple in terms of paint, but so wonderfully expressive in line and form. While pretty much all her work is fascinating, I threw together a few of her images which focus on the idea of duality.
These pieces remind me of the astrological sign Gemini, which is represented by the twins, and the ones where she has joined the hair of the figures makes me think about Siamese twins.
I’ve read that her work is often about representing contradiction, but I don’t really see it so much in these pieces. The doubling of figures adds some kind of mystique and poignancy, but doesn’t entirely explore the supposed contradictory or dual nature of women i.e. the virgin / vamp notion. But I guess this is what I like about it – that it isn’t an obvious exploration of that idea. While these pieces certainly made me think about duality, I like that Kawasaki hasn’t succumbed to obvious portrayals of this and suggests a deeper, more complex nature of the feminine.
I found this image of Catrin Claeson who is such a babe. I especially like the shots of her in black and white, as they have a more artistic feel. Some other stuff I see of her reminds me of bad catalogues. I especially like this image as it reminds me of a mermaid. I guess the long hair, being topless and the tights suggest it all without having to go to the need of showing a tail. I think that would be too much anyway and make it a bit cheesy. It’s interesting though that there is that phallic addition – I don’t actually know what is peeking out there. What is this achieving? Is it mocking men or masculinising her? She’s empowered because she’s got a penis representation? Ahh, I really don’t know. But it bothers me more than I like it. I would photoshop it out.
Purely by chance (or was it??) I happened across some interesting images today whilst searching for some inspiration for a current design project. Only just deciding to get into the internet world, and not having much of a mind for fashion, I am probably madly behind the pack here. But what the hell – Andrej Pejic. Ring any bells? I found him today when googling “androgynous model photography”. Heaps of images of this guy, who quite easily looks like a beautiful woman, came up. Super fascinating and really intriguing. I didn’t expect to find such a lack of gender boundaries in one person. How can a man be so beautiful? And not only beautiful for a man, but genuinely beautiful for a woman. The ironic thing is that minutes earlier I had saved an image of Pejic I found in a different google search and I had no idea it was a man. I found it and was like, “cool, this is pretty much perfect for what I want to recreate”. And recreate with a female friend of mine. How funny. An interesting place to start this blog I think. Here’s the original picture I saved and then some more showing Pejic in more masculine images. Enjoy and let me know your thoughts? I reckon this male-for-female mistake is way more forgivable than anyone that questioned Taylor Hanson.
The original image I found.
Pejic looking like a dude.
Maybe taking things a little too far? Or the perfect way to trick your guy friends?
I’d love to hear your thoughts x