What do you get when you cross one masterful filmmaker with another masterful artist? You get more art, of course! I recently chatted to the talented creative, Elizabeth Yoo, about her recent work that uses the erotic cinema of Alain Robbe-Grillet as muse. Yoo’s expressive artwork is a treat on its own but, incase you are yet to meet, let me introduce you to Robbe-Grillet in the clip below. Yoo’s interview and artwork follows.
Firstly, can you tell us a little bit about your series of paintings based on the films of Alain Robbe-Grillet. I’ve actually never seen his films, as embarrassing as it is to say, but I’ll definitely be checking them out soon.
It was the first series I’d ever done and it was also the first time I’d picked up a paintbrush in several years. But I guess I needed that long hiatus from making art in order for me to expand my frame of reference, collect my inspirations, see what my true interests really were. This series was kind of a rebirth for me. Through painting my interpretations of these scenes from the first four films Robbe-Grillet directed (L’Immortelle, Trans-Europ-Express, The Man Who Lies, Eden and After), I was coming into my own. I felt like I was finally freed from inhibitions. These paintings are not just scenes from films—I also see them as self-portraits. They communicate my own desires. Although more widely known as a writer, pioneer of the nouveau roman (“new novel”), and a screenwriter, his films deserve to have a wider audience. I’m drawn to the ambiguity of his films– the line between reality and fantasy is indistinguishable. And of course, I’m drawn to the sadomasochistic eroticism and this desire mixed with fear present in most of his films.
What about sexuality in art do you find appealing? Who are artists that you feel perfect the art of eroticism? I’ve always loved Egon Schiele and you can find newcomer Kaethe Butcher on most erotic art sites, she’s taking the world by storm.
Egon Schiele is definitely one of my favourite artists. His aggressive, expressionistic style heightens the eroticism of his paintings. The angular bodies, the bones jutting out, pale skin marked by bright spots of red or blue that look like smears, eyes looking directly at the viewer, intertwined lovers: you really feel the energy. Another favorite painter of mine is Balthus, whose style is kind of the opposite of Schiele—there’s a calmness and a stillness to the figures in his paintings. There are defined, domestic backgrounds unlike Schiele’s work which has all this negative space. Kaethe Butcher is fantastic. Her style is incredibly provocative and I love the way she incorporates text into her drawings.
You use a limited colour palate in your work, does this act as a vehicle to explore darker undertones in your subjects? Or is it purely an aesthetic/style preference?
I think I express myself better in black and white than in colour. Black is the colour of nighttime and sensuality—perfect for my subject matter. I don’t have to think as much when using only black paint and ink—I can transmit all my raw emotions onto the paper without hesitation or forethought; spontaneity is key in my work. When I use colour, I’m usually drawn to bright, primary colours– but I worry if the colours will work together. Sometimes the cheerful colours contrast with my dark themes— I like that disparity.
Eros And After: Pleasure & Pain in the Films of Alain Robbe-Grillet was your first solo exhibition. How did you find the process? Was selecting the final work for display difficult or are you a total planner? How did outcomes meet expectations?
Originally, I was going to paint scenes from several more of his films. But due to lack of time, I ended up only doing his first four films—and I like that limited focus. I’m happy with how I ended up with twenty paintings. The perfect symmetry: we hung ten paintings from the ceiling on one side and ten on the other. I tend to over-plan and since it was my first show, a lot of stress was definitely involved! But I was very happy to see that people who came to my exhibit understood the work and saw how powerful and in control of their sexuality the women in the paintings are.
Your second exhibition is underway as I write this. How does this compare with your first exhibition?
The audience is very different and the way in which my paintings were exhibited is also very different. The walls of the gallery at my second exhibition are coloured (blue, orange, and magenta) so I feel like that becomes part of the artworks and changes how they look, which is interesting. At my first exhibit at Holyrad Studio in Brooklyn, we showed one of Robbe-Grillet’s films during the reception—so the audience (mostly twenty-something year olds) got a really full experience. At my second exhibit at Home Art Gallery in Long Island– it’s a suburban area and it’s an area with people of all ages, so the reaction was a bit different. Most of the Robbe-Grillet paintings were shown, as well as other artworks of mine with thematic and stylistic similarities. Most of the people at both exhibits had never seen a Robbe-Grillet film—so it was a pleasure for me to introduce them! I was able to meet Robbe-Grillet’s widow (and a very famous dominatrix in France) Catherine Robbe-Grillet twice shortly after my show and she told me I was “converting” people into “Alain fans”—so my work was done!
How important do you think exhibiting work is as an artist, especially given the plethora of online spaces art can be showcased these days?
I think it’s extremely important because you don’t get a real sense of the size, texture, and detail in a work of art unless you see it in person. I like to stand for a long time in front of an artwork when I’m at a gallery because I try to see the artist’s process: the brushstrokes they made, how many layers of paint they used, etc. It’s a totally different experience, too, seeing an entire series or a body of work in a gallery—you’re totally in that artist’s world and there’s almost a private communion between you and the artworks. Online,you may get a more scattered, incomplete experience.
You obviously love film. Can you recommend five films and/or directors to us?
Alain Robbe-Grillet’s Trans-Europ-Express (which I screened at my first show) is very playful and sexy—about a film-within-a-film. A director (played by Alain Robbe-Grillet himself), a script supervisor (played by his wife Catherine), and a producer, riding the Trans-Europ-Express from Paris to Antwerp, discuss ideas for a crime movie about a man who will travel on the same train they are on. This character, played by Jean-Louis Trintignant, smuggles cocaine into Antwerp and becomes involved with a prostitute played by Marie-France Pisier. The two have daytime trysts involving sadomasochisticplay that eventually become fatal.
Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le Samouraï. Melville is my absolute favourite director—a Frenchman who loved American gangster films and film noir, like me—this film stars my favourite actor Alain Delon playing a quiet hit man who follows the code of a samurai.
Roger Vadim’s Barbarella: Jane Fonda in some of the sexiest costumes ever. I adore her combination of innocence and total lack of shame about her sexuality. Campy fun. Shirley Clarke’s The Connection. I worked with director Immy Humes on an upcoming documentary about Shirley, who was an independent filmmaking rebel. My favourite film of Clarke’s is about a group of jazz musicians jamming in this Greenwich Village apartment as they wait for their drug dealer to come. A documentary film crew shoots them and it raises all sorts of questions about “realism.”
Agnès Varda’s Le Bonheur—absolutely beautiful, colourful film about a happily married couple, which takes a devastating turn after the man cheats on his wife. I really love the disparity between the colours and this dark undercurrent.
From your website I can see you are a total all-rounder when it comes to creativity! I love this. I also dabble in many art/creation forms. I’ve often felt the pressure to pick one art-form to focus on and excel in. Can you relate to similar concepts? Do you ever feel overwhelmed by having such an active mind?
I often do feel very overwhelmed! I have terrible insomnia due to my overactive mind. I often do most of my work into the night because I have no sense of time passing. My other passion besides painting is writing. I write very dark, twisted noir stories, psychological thrillers—a bit like Patricia Highsmith—and stories that fuse eroticism with horror. Once I am completely happy with my stories (I’m too much of a perfectionist which is why it takes me so long to complete a story!) I will eventually post them on my website with an illustration to accompany each story. My goal is to find a way to link my love of visual art with my writing.
See more of Elizabeth’s work on her website.
I’m loving these fun, feminine collages by Beth Hoeckel. Each piece connects femininity and sexuality with everyday objects like waffles and plants to create super powerful imagery with an understated connection to the goddess. Oh yeah, what more could you want? Plus, you can grab them for under $20. Links below each image. Peace and love x
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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Today’s Move Monday is a video clip for the song Games for Girls by Say Lou Lou x Lindstrøm. Stylish, stunning twin sisters make up Say Lou Lou and I wanted to showcase them as much for their 70s vibe as their music and playful video clip.
Life should always have room for fun. Enjoy this clip below xx
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Today’s Move Monday is a video clip for the song Woke up as a Wolf by ZaZaZoZo. These guys are really fun and interesting. I enjoy the video and love the song too – catchy and cool. After watching this clip I recommend taking a look on their website, which looks full of creativity and inspiration. Enjoy!
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For today’s Move Monday I have chosen the song ‘Animals’ by The GOASTT (Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger) which comprises of Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl. I have to say these guys are one dreamy couple, and this psychedelic take on the 60s cult vibe is pretty awesome. With some really lovely imagery accompanied by an enjoyable tune, this might help you handle Monday a little better!
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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 found this mash-up on YouTube and was pretty impressed. I’m not always a fan of Lady Gaga’s music and had never heard this song before, but it is pretty catchy and the lyrics work well with the images of Lulu (Louise Brooks) from Pandora’s Box (Pabst, 1929). As you probably know, I love Louise Brooks. She is so captivating and enigmatic in a photograph and is even better in motion. For me, Brooks epitomises the Scorpio actor/actress. So much charisma, emotion and sincerity. Consider what your mind goes to when it thinks ‘black and white movie’ and then compare that with the fluid images you are about to see. A pity she wasn’t allowed to do more (cut out when the ‘talkies’ arrived), but such a privilege to be able to see her move, smile and shine as our cheeky yet passionate Lulu.
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London-based photographer, Hadassi Reuben is something special. Her amazing work takes on a dreamy, ethereal nature through her use of forest-like environments and natural light (often shooting at sunrise). Drawing inspiration from Romanticism, you can certainly tell Reuben is re-imagining a time gone by. When her subjects aren’t dressed in vintage costume, the style of her photography works to transform the images to a different era. The combination of nature and femininity makes Reuben’s work perfect for The Visual Female, but also creates a very accessible, understated beauty that I imagine would appeal to a wide audience. I could easily see any of her photographs framed in large-scale looking amazing in a variety of homes. Her work reminds me a little bit of Nishe, who I shared not so long ago. One main difference would be that Nishe uses colour whereas all of Reuben’s work is in black and white. But as I mentioned in my The Black and White Image post, I am a huge fan of black and white. There is some sort of magic it creates. A pleasure to share such amazing, pure photography.
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I have been wanting to add more variety to The Visual Female for a wee while now and have decided to achieve this through some movement! Yes, joyous videos! As a cinema fan, I have a big passion and appreciation for the moving image. It can be highly creative, mysterious, sensual, spooky and evocative. While I’m not the best at keeping to strict rules and regiments, I am hoping to share a few videos a month on a Monday for this new feature, Move Monday.
To kick things off I wanted to share this fun and artistic video by an artist I recently discovered called Lowell. She’s pretty phenomenal and one of those oh-so-amazing all-round creatives that can sing, write, paint, produce while always looking like an authentic babe. I’ve chosen her song Cloud 69. I love the raw energy and fun, vintage nature of the images and film stock. Also, the song is really cool and you’ll feel like you’ve heard it a million times on your first listen. Catchy in a positive way, I hope you like seeing some visual stimulation while listening to a great track. To get to know Lowell a bit more and listen to some more of her music, check out her interview for Pilerats.
I found the photography of Nishe and was quickly in love with the beauty of it. Soft, feminine focus and dreamy subject matter make for stunning images that I would happily display on my walls. Her website has a great selection of work, as well as deals on prints and links to other web presence. I selected some images I quite like, but as you can imagine it was hard to limit it to just a few.
Photography can be so amazing and capture the essence of a painting which is quite unreal. Nishe’s work certainly delivers on this while also evoking great wonder and beauty. I hope to find more photographers like her. So do let me know if you know any similar by leaving a comment. I would love to showcase more photography in this style.
For now, enjoy these delightful images and get carried away in the beauty.
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I read an interview with the delectable Kelly Thompson today featured on a new-found goody, Sly on the Wall. One aspect of the interview (and interviews in general) I enjoyed was hearing what illustrators Kelly looks up to and finds inspiring. It always interests me to see if artists like other artists that are similar to them (hence they were probably inspired by them initially) or whether they love work that’s different to their own.
I guess with me I don’t emulate any artist that I really like. One reason would be that there are far too many I like (check how many amazing artists I have posted on this blog so far!) and another reason would be that I’m far to spontaneous to dedicate time to emulation. I can hardly do any repeat styles in my own work, so throwing in another artists style would be way too much. Unless you think I’ve been inspired by anyone? (Let me know). I’m sure we all are in some shape or form. But some artists really work to develop their own personal style, which is admirable. Others want to explore and develop others styles, always adding their own unique spin. This work is also pretty great.
But back to my point, Kelly listed a few illustrators she finds inspiring, so I checked them out and found a few pieces that I thought were pretty cool too. Surprisingly, I hadn’t heard of any of them! (But I did recognise the piece by Vania Zouravliov, which I’m sharing here). Had you? Do you see any similarities in Kelly’s work that could have resulted from these illustrators as a source of inspiration? I can in a couple.
Craig and Karl
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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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I am, and always will be, in love with Alphonse Mucha. His work is stunning, and not only works as art but as design, with much of his work being used as posters to advertise products and events. Like Klimt, he fits into my old-time favourites group. And, as I have noted before, sometimes we can forget the good oldies. So today I wanted to share a few pieces by Mucha that I enjoy. I even have the ‘Cycles Perfecta’ image on a dark red mug which I frequently drink from. Speaking of mugs, I may go and make myself a green tea. xx
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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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We are almost nearing the end of Mercury retrograde – thank goodness! For those of you that don’t know about Mercury retrograde, here’s a brief rundown. About three times a year, the planet Mercury starts turning in a backward motion which begins to cause some havoc. Mercury governs communication and transportation, so in retrograde you may notice that issues arise surrounding these matters. Examples of such include computers crashing, missing appointments, buses running late, things going missing and so on. Essentially, it is not such a flash time of the year. Mercury is a bit of a trickster, so if you have noticed things going a little weird you can start to relax, as retrograde will finish in the 20th of July, and things will start to go back to normal. I find Gala Darlings run down of retrograde pretty good, so check it out here. Plus, retrograde isn’t all bad, as Gala explains.
Like myself, Gala is a Virgo. This may explain why she has an interest in Mercury retrograde, as Mercury is the ruling planet of both Virgo and Gemini. And this means that us Virgos, and all those Geminis out there, feel the effects of retrograde quite a bit harder than the other signs of the zodiac. I haven’t had too many issues this time, but have had hard-drives break and other serious mishaps in the past. Although, I have to wonder about where my emails are going lately… I am not getting the usual replies, which is making progression quite difficult. But nevermind, enough about me. Here are a few artists that may be feeling, or could have felt, the effects of Mercury retrograde. Yes, they are all Virgos or Geminis.
Joel-Peter Witkin – September 13, 1939
Jen Mann – September 17, 1987
Man Ray – August 27, 1890
John Baldessari – June 17, 1931
Egon Schiele – June 12, 1890
Diego Velazquez – June 6, 1599
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Jennifer Madden is an English illustrator, designer, and fine artist that makes work that I just adore. Her pencil sketches are refreshing – having a beautiful raw, natural energy – something that can sometimes get lost under the search of perfection. Her paint work is also exquisite and maintains the same energy. A lot of her work focuses on children or young girls and incorporates a connection to nature, such as an animal. In some pieces this is as simple as holding a rabbit, but in others it can be incorporating antlers into a headband of sorts. The girls seem to always have their heads adorned with animal features or oversized bows. It is fun and frivolous, but the essence of each piece also has a withdrawn, muted aspect. The girls look historical in some pieces which adds an allure of mystery. What is their story? Where do they belong? Like all good art, Madden balances beauty with an aura of wonderment that makes you want to linger on the pieces. A definite star in my opinion. You can see more of her work on her beautiful website.
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I’m posting this painting I did a few years ago, today, because somebody (somebody cool) purchased a print from my Etsy store. Woohoo! I made an Etsy store ages ago, and only put up a few pieces that I have printed already (but more to come soon). I had almost forgotten that I had done this, when I received notification that I had sold my Bette Davis print. So, I thought I may as well share this image with my viewers.
It’s a lovely, simple painting that I did quite a while ago when I was rekindling my love for art. While I studied art at high school, I focused on still life and abstract art. Only when I left school and began more self-taught art did I start painting people (well, just women… what a surprise). In my third year of University I developed a renewed passion for art and anything creative. I was loving my film studies, writing interesting essays on all sorts of creative topics, and teaching myself how to paint women. I began with some classic actresses whom I was then watching in class. They were the perfect place to begin, and allowed my minimal resources (paper, black paint, a few brushes) to flourish. What better way to translate black and white movie actresses than in black and white? During that year I also experimented with women in colour, and while I like what I produced, it seems the public prefer my black and white pieces. Perhaps it’s the style, or the subject, or the combination, but they seem to do alright.
I love this image and have the original hanging in my room. So, I am really glad that somebody else seems to agree! I hope the print brings them some joy. If you like this image, I have one small print left for sale on my Etsy store, as well as various prints and products you can purchase on Society6, and my most recent outlet, Redbubble.
Also, let me know if you like artwork like this, and whether or not I should dip my brush back in this style.
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I found these two collages and was taken by the similarity between the two. The first piece is by Sammy Slabbink, and the second is by Clinton Santana. Both images take a beautiful, wintry landscape and connect it with a beautiful woman’s face. Both have paths in them – the bridge and then the track in the bottom image. Arguably, the top piece has a little more collage going on – the mountains sit above clouds, the bridge houses little people who conflict with the size of the main woman. Are they coming out or are the going in? I think it looks like they are coming out of her mouth, entering the world. The second piece is a little simpler, in that it appears only two or three pieces have been used in the collage. The bottom half of the image is a simple landscape, and at the top we have a starry night’s sky. In the middle the beautiful woman. But what made me stop and notice this piece was exactly who this woman was. I have her stuck to my kitchen door, so I am very familiar with her face. It is a piece from the “Semblance” series by HelloVon. I posted the image and some more from the series in a post called HelloVon almost a year ago. If you check out the post, you will be able to see how Santana has cut and pasted from the first piece.
I love both images, and it amazes me how something as simple as a collage can be so effective. Yet, I know that when I briefly tried to do my own collage, the result wasn’t as polished as these two pieces. I guess we are drawn to the art forms that connect to us individually, and while I love collage, it is not something I have really considered pursuing. But you never know, perhaps one day I will be as memorable for collage as the Dadaists.
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A while back I posted some Klimt homages. In my research I found some cool fashion shoots from Vogue that had a Klimt vibe, but I didn’t quite deem them right for Copy Klimt. I thought I would share them now as they are really quite nice images. One can definitely see the Klimt essence, yet these images are quite modern and edgy. I love the merging of pattern – from sheets, cushions and clothing to the effect of tattoos through body paint. This really unites each piece, and the tattoo and 50s style look of the model transforms the piece into something original. Really fun and vibrant pieces! A great way to kickstart your weekend. Enjoy! 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.
So, as promised (for those who actually read me!!) here is my own collage attempt. I posted a while back Pieces, which showcased some interesting and alternative styles of collage. And, somewhat inspired, I thought I would give it a try. It is not really anything I have experimented with before, so it was an interesting exercise. I would say the results are okay. And certainly working in Photoshop had its benefits. I find when doing a hand-made collage that the most frustrating aspect is not being able to alter the sizes of your material to make it work/connect with other images/aspects. Photoshop makes it easier to scale images to an appropriate size to help the overall flow of the image. Arguably, this image would have turned out dramatically different had I only had access to predetermined sizes of images and thus only be able to manipulate them in a compositional way. Nevertheless, I am pretty happy with what I created. It is really quite fascinating that you can have no vision, find multiple images and then compile aspects of them together to make something that works. And yet, any one of you would have made a completely alternate result. Truly fascinating. If anyone would like to give this a go, I would be more than happy to send you the images I made myself choose from and let you compile your own collage. Only catch is that you must send your result(s) to me and let me post it/them on here. Go on, challenge and excite yourself! I would love to see what your creative minds come up with xx
I paired these images together due to aspects of their collage-like nature. Collage is quite an effective art method, but one that can easily get forgotten. Although these images are very different from one another (in form and technique) they do all seem to fit under that collage umbrella. So simple yet so powerful.
They have kind of inspired me to try my hand at some form of collage. I wonder if I will opt for the (easy) computer over the old cut and past style… I’ll be sure to share my results once I accomplish something!
I found this page from an old school magazine a while ago. I don’t know what I was looking for, but I thought it was pretty cool and saved it to show a friend. It’s nice to see women looking like real women. My friend I was going to show it to hates the modern ideal of the skinny woman. I have this thing for skinny arms (?!?), but I do agree that it is nicer to see women with soft curves rather than abs of steel.
I don’t know about the whole nudist thing though. Personally, I can’t imagine doing anything like that. And it’s not because I am uncomfortable with my body or anything. I quite like being naked sometimes, I just think I’m too modest or shy for others to see. I’m pretty private in general. But maybe it’s one of those things everyone should try one day. Because it seems that a lot of older people take it up or are found at nudist beaches. Maybe because it takes all those years to build up the courage. Or maybe by then you don’t see your body as a sexual entity anymore?
Anyway, I just thought this was a nice image to share and remind us of the beauty of women. As they say, nothing is as sexy as confidence. I love their poses and how they are representing themselves. Strong and wonderful.