At first I wanted to draw empowering pictures but then I realised they were empty, almost lies. I’ve been avoiding my real self my whole life because I thought I wasn’t suitable. Confession is familiar, it keeps me in the dark; now I feel like it’s time to live transparently so I am drawing my secrets as if they were common knowledge.
Instagram of a pad with watercolour splotches and the text “Why would anyone choose to be ugly? Who gets to choose to be ugly?”
Watercolour and ink drawing of a fat white lady (me) in a ratty black bra and grey undies looking unsympathetic. Text says “Not for you.”
Watercolour and ink drawing of a fat white lady (me) wearing a green polka dot dress and sweating profusely, fanning herself with a notebook and wiping sweat from her brow.
Sometimes I’m astounded and depressed that we still have to talk about the male gaze.
A pen and marker drawing on transparent polymer sheets of a fat white lady with lilac hair wearing a swimsuit and sporting tattoos, with floating men and food in her stomach.
I slightly resent having to find words to accompany things I’ve drawn. I guess I draw things so I don’t have to find words. I’m trying to find a new way to express the monstrous ugliness inside me, how it is a normal/ neutral thing in my mind but a feared, castigated and hidden set of traits on a cultural level. How there are ugly things I can get away with because I am white (having straight hair that I don’t brush, being typically white and pale), and other things I can’t get away with because I am fat (dressing sloppily, not visibly reducing my fatness, taking up space). How I perform femininity in acceptable ways (I like crafts and flowers) and obscene ways (too much make up). In private spaces I am very comfortable doing my own thing in my own body, slouching, picking zits, pulling faces, sitting with my legs open, burping; yet in public spaces I am extra vigilant in policing my posture, demeanor, behaviour, and dress. I hate being uncomfortable, and I resent having to hem myself in to make other people comfortable. Surely our culture would be better off doing away with the discomfort, the niceties, the shaming, and focusing more on not being dicks to one another.
A self portrait of me with dark brunette hair, squeezing a zit on my stretch marked breast. A purse with a floral china pattern spills out to the left and around me, and a banner with “nice white lady” stretches over me. In the background is a pattern of pink and purple fuchsias, and a doily shape on the lower right.
It’s been a bit of a bumpy start to the year so I’ve been trying to take care of myself as best I can, but the upshot has been having more time to create. Actually my frenzied swings between furious output and overwhelming fatigue and depression have caused concern for my psychiatrist, no kidding, which means I might have my diagnosis changed. Which is another bump on the dodgy bitumen of 2012.
Without delving too deeply into all that super raw stuff, here are some drawings I’ve produced. The first two are commissioned digital illustrations of Lillian and Jaimielee (the Fancy Bonanza winner); the rest are further explorations of ugly/ vain/ amazing/ perfectly cromulent embodiment.
Illustration of Lillian, who is fat and pale skinned, wearing a sheer black blouse with a red polka dot pencil skirt and red shoes. She stands on a checkerboard walkway in space!
Illustration of Jaimielee, a fat babe of colour with orange hair, helping her fluffy white dog Muscles stand up in the middle of a suburban street. Jaimielee wears a blue chevron striped top with a grey cardigan and blue jeans; Muscles wears a cute grumpy puppy face.
Illustration of myself (with longer blue hair) wearing a disdainful look upon my face and a singlet that says "Don't invalidate my ugly."
Illustration of a fat babe with brown skin and candy pink hair standing astride a yellow bike with a basket full of flowers, books, food and a white puppy.
Illustration of a babe with white skin, zits and huge honey coloured hair looking in a hand mirror. A speech bubble above says, “Look at yourself!” and text on the mirror says, “Stop looking at yourself.”