I don't really think of art as political. I know past and present, art is often used towards politics ends, but, ideologies aside, whenever any artist draws a figure? An opinion or a 'version of reality' is being suggested by the artists, don't you think?
Is the figure i draw Cute? Ugly? Plain? Average? Healthy looking? Emaciated? Pleasantly plump? Obviously my version of what's 'beautiful' may leave you scratching your had, and visa versa.
So what's my point?
Here's a portrait of a woman. Really just a rough sketch. Flawed. Her right leg is awkwardly placed at the hip, her left knee is off. Heads too big. All stuff i could fix, but i left it rough, unfinished. Because, the point isn't my rather modest figure drawings skills ( or, ahem... lack there of.)
She's an imperfect woman.
I ask myself this question? What happens if i draw some women in the same pose... but CHANGE their body weight, skin texture, and even the style their drawn in?
Funny what we artists *edit*... whenever i draw a figure. All us artists do.
So what do we have here? Strip away whatever realism the First Woman had, and now we've typical comic book heroine's barbie doll proportions. Boobs way too big, waist impossibly thin.
There's a LOT you'll edit out to make a sexists (or idealized) drawing of a woman. I'm guilty of doing it, so are even some woman comic artists. We sometimes succomb to the fans and publishers' desire for idealized figures, or wildly distorted versions of them.
But in the second woman's case, (short of cosmetic surgery), it's wildly unlike what most of us even LOOK like isn't it? It strikes me as *political* because there's an agenda. I inviting the viewer to admire her, or maybe the viewer will roll their eyes, be disgusted or dismissive of her.
Now check this out... for the Third Woman: were in Egon Schiele territory.. disjointed gaunt, sagging flesh, about as far away from the romanticized Gustav Klimt as it gets, let alone super heroine barbie doll proportions. Some might say this style is stripped of pretense because it's not trying to be as sexy as Woman Two, or as 'natural' as Woman One.
But when we not only edit out the so called 'attractive' features, but also add things that most people find deliberately ugly.. or hard to look at. But to me this isn't any less or more 'true' a representation of a figure than the other two. But it still OMITS some things doesn't it? Almost goes too far the other way?
Now Woman Three.
She's illustrated in a lush brush style.. her bosom's bigger, but is allowed to droop a little. Fuller hips, but this too edits out lots of info. Glosses over 'imperfections' doesn't it? Yeah, it her bosom lacks the silicone of the second figure. But she's he's also got a little more tummy than the barbie woman or the Schiele one, but we're still avoiding reality, it's just a slightly more romantic view than the previous two.
This is a woman i fall into drawing a lot. I get cut more slack from some female fans when i draw this type of woman, because at least she's got a FEW curve on her figure, but she's sill idolized isn't she? It's just a more popualar idealized version than the other figures.
If you break it down to boxes and circles and tubes, the building blocks of all figure drawing, she's really just *this*... which may be the *least* prejudiced version. The least politicized or agenda oriented. It's also probably the ugliest too. Or most crude. It's drawn with sharp edges too, almost a sort of cubist 'in your face' style. I drew her bosom as little baggies of flesh or silicone taped to her frame, it's amazing how much focus we guys PUT on those things isn't it?
Now we may as well go full boar, FAT! We all know it, may hate it, but there's a little big of it in all of us isn't there? I myself do't even consider this a overweight woman, but i have my own affection for this body type, so i'm hardly objective. This may repulse you or you may have sympathy for it, but once again, it's not literal, i have edited out things here too.
I also used a soft leaded pencil to soften any hard edges, the *opposite* of the cubist woman above. I did so knowing how little tolerance many have for a rubenesque figure. Even Ruben romanticized this form didn't he? Another agenda, another version of reality.
So what am i saying?
I don't really *have* an opinion. My feeling is most artists opinions of their own work are pretty much pointless. Especially my own.
My wife walked into my studio, didn't say a word, then and tapped an astrology clipping from the newspaper to my art table, which i just now took a picture of.
I'm not really much into Astrology, i got distracted by the inspirational message got absorbed in the damage various Exacto knife marks i've dug into the scotch tape on my table.
( Bonus: check out my yellow dyslexic page-spread? You'd think after all these years i'd have *memorized* ... 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, etc.. )
Maybe my wife's goal with this news paper clipping was providing me with some deeper message? Something about 'chaos' and 'process'?
Or maybe she was hinting i should, like, invoice some *pages* this week?
Or maybe both?