December 30, 2010

Dear Special K,

I'd like to tell you that your "What will you gain when you lose" campaign is full of shit.

I'll make this short because your commercials offend me. And if you don't know me, there really isn't a lot that I take offense to. Even when it comes to diet and weight loss issues.

If you haven't seen the ads or are unaware of the campaign, here's a link to a news release:

"It truly is not what the numbers on the scale read, but how you feel about yourself that allows you to project beauty and confidence to the world," said Jesper Lund Jacobsen, associate director, Special K® brand. "That is what the new Special Kbrand campaign is all about, reminding women of the positive emotional benefits that come from reaching weight-management goals. It's not what you lose, but what you gain in the process that translates into the real reward.

 While I see where Special K is trying to go with their message by empowering women to take their weight issues into their own hands. I do not agree with the strategy behind using adjectives like "Sass", "Self-Belief" or "Passion" to describe what you get when you lose weight.

This image belongs to the Kellogg Corp. I just nabbed it from their site,, please don't sue me.

I'm not sure how anyone else has taken these commercials, but this is how I see it:
"You cannot possibly be happy with yourself. You're fat and miserable. You posses neither sass nor self-belief because you are fat. So when you take our "challenge" you'll lose that pesky weight and gain everything you couldn't have when you were 30+ pounds overweight. Plus, we have this nifty tag line. Get it? 'What will you gain when you lose?'"

 Now if I read correctly, their spokesperson says "It's what you gain during the process that translates into the real reward." But the commercials come across like no one can be happy and feel whole unless they lose weight. They're making it a self esteem issue.
There are plenty of women who posses sass, self-belief and confidence (and to be honest, these women inspire me). It really is all about health. Why don't we focus on motivating people to take care of themselves, and if losing weight is part of that process, celebrate it? I think the way this campaign has an issue with its wording and not so much its motivation. Healthy = ok. Being overweight and happy with yourself = ok too.

I'd really like to hear what others think about this, if you've seen the commercials.

December 19, 2010

Unknown Artist

I'm dying to know who this artist is. If anyone out in the world wide webs knows, give me a clue, please.

December 13, 2010


This is going to be brief, and to be honest, I'm writing this while on the toilet because I'm a proud multi-tasker.

I took a short, yet semi-traumatic shopping trip with my mother yesterday. I say semi-traumatic because I was able to walk away from said shopping trip with an awesome pair of shoes and a cute sweater. The traumatizing part was two-fold.

First I was hoping to squeeze into a new bra, most of the ones I have now are "well loved". Bra shopping has always been a pain in the ass for me.
I've never been properly measured for a bra. I couldn't tell you if I'm a B cup or a C cup to save my life. I fluctuate. My boobs are the first place I gain weight (yay!) but the first place I lose it (boo!) so there's never really a set size to the girls. The only thing that's constant is the size of the band around my bust.
Which leads me to a complaint I've had ever since I hit puberty. Being fat and having small tits. Does this sound offensive? Good.

I've often envied my fellow large and lovely ladies for their glorious racks. Big girl shirts fit nicely over their chests, they fill out bras like cupcakes and frosting. And have you seen a corset on a large, curvy woman? WOW! Like a romance where the couple is meant to be.

Me, on the other hand, I've always been on the small side of the tit spectrum. While my hips and ass have been the focus of a lot of compliments, no one (save for my dear, loving boy) has ever complimented me on my boobs. Which is fine, I'd rather people focused on my shining personality above my boobs. But I haven't been able to properly fit into large lady clothing because clothing manufacturers think that if you're over a size 14 that you're more than well equipped in the bust.

Coy and demure in 2006
Shopping for a shirt that's cute and a little flirty is a pain in the ass. If it has the slightest "V" in the neckline, I find myself having to either stitch it closed a little, or I have to wear a tank top under it. I could be extra brave and just let the shirt do its thing naturally... but then I'd constantly be worried about wardrobe malfunctions.
I find myself shopping for push-up bras or padded bras so that my clothing fits correctly, because I don't want to always wear a T-shirt to hide my girls.

So after trying on two or three bras, and realizing that if you're over a 38B, and under a 40DD there are no cute bras for you. YOU are supposed to wear a bland, white, no frills, granny bra (no offense to hot grannies out there). While I'm possibly a 40B or a 40C, I couldn't find a cute bra with polka dots, or a demi-cup with a lacy pattern to save my life. The bra I liked that looked good on me was an EXTREME PUSH UP bra (This is what it said on the tag). It was comfortable, but not EXTREME. Why? Because the padding in the bottom of the bra that made it extreme, was taking up the space that my boobs did not. So it looked like a regular bra, and it still didn't fit me correctly. I was a little dejected.

Yeah, I took a photo because I thought the EXTREME push up bra
looked hilarious on my non-extreme boobs.

We made a quick trip to another store where I was rewarded with a pair of boots that I had coveted months prior. High five to 50% off sales AND awesome mothers. But there was something I really wanted, something that I've been searching high and low for.... a sweater dress in a fat lady size. I found one, but it wasn't "quite" my size. I tried it on anyway and was disappointed that it looked more like I'd tried to squeeze into a sock than a sweater dress. 
I have several pairs of leggings that I'm enamored with. I'd love to wear more dresses, but I don't because tights are a pain in the ass. So leggings are these amazing things that allow me to wear dresses AND not have to deal with the BS that are tights. They also have me looking high and low for things to wear OVER them.
This is where the sweater dress comes in. After much staring, debating and twirling in the dressing room, I gave up the search (for the time being) for an appropriate sweater dress.

While my mom and I were walking to the car, I asked her a question that has been rolling around in my brain for a while.
"Why do you think that calling someone "fat" is an insult?"

This resulted in a quizzical look and her replying "because they feel that way on the inside, or maybe were fat at one time in their life?"

Which really wasn't what I meant, but it's a question that I want to get to the bottom of. 

Why is calling someone fat an insult? Fat is an adjective. It describes a noun.
Yelling "Hey, you're skinny!" isn't an insult. Why should saying "Hey, you're fat!" be one either? 
Why we're so afraid that someone is going to call us an adjective is beyond my scope of comprehension. Are our collective thoughts on our bodies so warped that FAT has become a four-letter word?
My mom was more interested in a clever retort to someone saying "hey you're fat". This is yet another reason I love her. I'm going to start compiling a list of comebacks. I'm sure Joy Nash has a great list of comebacks...

Fat Rant 3

While this post was meant to be brief, and it looks like I was a little more verbose than I would have liked, I want to think about this more, though. It ticks me off that I've ever felt insulted by some idiot trying to be mean by throwing grammar at me.

December 9, 2010


I've been having a hard time standing my ground about body acceptance. Well, personally.

I want so hard to say LOVE THY SELF and mean it. To be genuine to the movement is very important to me. I'm starting to get cynical about people who are weight-loss addicted. Where there entire world is focused on losing weight and exercise.*

*This is in no way to say that I'm against weight loss and exercise, at all!!!

My problem is this: I want to lose weight and be healthy. While I agree that you can be healthy at any size, I however, am far from healthy. I'm not pre diabetic and my blood pressure is good for my size, so this is good. But my cholesterol is high. This is NOT healthy. My weight fluctuates by 20 pounds on any given month.
Anyway. In the spirit of honesty and full disclosure, I want to lose 100 pounds. This would put me back at my "pre-jerkface" weight. If all 100 pounds happens, great. If 20 pounds happens, awesome!

Don't let this contemplative, sexy pose fool you, I had
a terrible time with self image when I was this age.

I feel like I'm being wishy-washy to the spirit of my thesis.

I don't like the weight I've gained and I don't fit into the clothes I have. While a shopping trip would be spectacular, I just can't afford it right now. While I like the clothes that I have, I just don't like how I look in them. This is where my hypocrisy starts. A line from my thesis is: "I want to explore my own perceptions of body image and open a dialog with viewers about how media influences the way that women perceive themselves. I want to see why some women base their happiness solely on how they look in their clothes and why they compare themselves to the people that they see in the media." I feel like I'm not being true to this statement with my thoughts about my own body. I guess this can change as I work on my project next semester. Because my perceptions will change.... but I feel like wanting to lose weight is undermining my soul.

I look at blogs about weight loss, and congratulate women on dropping 100+ pounds. Then I read blogs about size acceptance and find myself saying "YES! You have it right!" then reading more about women losing weight and feeling badly because I'm thinking negative thoughts about how everyone should learn to love themselves.

Fat girl in a swimsuit, on the internet. And I'm ok with it.

There has to be.

I can't continue to torment myself over my weight. I can't make it this life or death matter that I can only see black or white.
I can't berate (albeit quietly) women who are addicted to exercise and weight loss, I can't put women who accept themselves, fat and all, on pedestals. There are negative aspects to letting yourself be unhealthy and not willing to change it, and also negative aspects to being addicted to exercise, there are positive aspects of both!

I'm currently mapping out a plan of action to get healthy, exercise and eat right. While I don't eat much and my portions are usually small, I don't eat enough and this is why I struggle losing weight. Eating once a day, and on the go, is far from healthy.

While I know that I'll never be skinny, I think that being healthy, firmer and happy wherever I end up is what my goal should be. And I am ok with that.

December 4, 2010


Friday started out as almost every day this week. I was a nervous wreck, but moreso than Monday through Thursday. I felt like my guts were churning, I wanted to melt out of my skin and make a trip to the Bahamas. I just did not want to be there.

Public speaking is NOT my strong suit. I get nervous just making polite conversation. I was glad I practiced my notes and had a moderately good feel of my proposal.

I got to the room 20-30 minutes early. I wanted to be sure that my fears of my slides being wrong, or the computer eating all my files or whatever problem that could go wrong, would not. I set up, paced, went to the bathroom, paced some more, flipped through my slides four or five times and paced one last time before I sat on the stool behind the podium.

The intro slide to my proposal

People started filtering in and they were all very friendly. People I've never met before were coming to see me talk about my work, my proposed project. Familiar faces started to come in and seat themselves and it made me really feel good. At first, I didn't want anyone to come to my presentation. It meant more pairs of eyes staring at me, analyzing me, watching me make mistakes. But knowing that there were kind people there that supported me and genuinely gave a shit about what I had to say, really made it easier to sit on a stool that was way to small for my butt, easier.

My mentor introduced me and I was off! I read through my cards, made eye contact with the blob of shapes in the darkness that was the crowd, flipped through my slides. Hearing myself gave me more confidence, I really sounded like I knew what I was talking about! Confidence that I'd never experienced started to filter through my body and out of my face! Several times my silly quips even made people laugh.
I HAVE YOU WHERE I WANT YOU! Which is right there in your seats following me.

Process slide

When my presentation came to an end, I sat there looking into the darkness at the silhouetted shapes of strangers and friends, wondering what kind of off-the-wall sorts of questions I was going to get. And then they came. Questions about what sorts of materials I was going to use, what I thought about using more than Caucasian models (which was odd, given that I created drawings of women of different ethnicities on purpose for my roughs. Maybe they weren't apparent enough). I surprised myself because I was able to answer the questions that I hadn't prepared myself for. The deeper  questions of where I was doing my research, what I want to glean from my project and how I was going to reach "the masses". My mouth opened and a woman who I'd never met before was coming out.

Rough layout of my final proposed project

To put a long and potentially rambly story short, I nailed it. Better than I expected. When called back in after the decision, I was told some initial concerns (which were few) and some praise. I was given the green light and now I have to prepare for the upcoming final semester. I'm excited! I even got some great ideas from my peers. I think it's a great idea to have a smaller doll so that people can take one with them when they leave the presentation. WOW! I wish that I had thought of something like that myself. I went a step further... to make a small version of each of the final dolls so that the audience can take one home with them. (I'll plan that out at a later date).

Ridiculous vintage underwear ads. I love them

I can't even continue to convey how happy I am that I didn't die right in the middle of my proposal. I was told continually that I was going to do well, but it was hard to hear that over the thumping of my heart. I was so frightened. I may have lip-synched in front of a group, done karaoke, performed in plays, go-go danced in KISS makeup on a pool table, dressed in clown just to hang out at the local bar....etc. But this was serious and I overcame one of the most terrifying things in my brain..... and I survived.

Final mockup (if you haven't seen it before)

I've gained an appreciation of having the support of loving family, friends and peers. I am sad that it's taken me until my senior year to make friends at school, but honestly, I expected that it was going to end up like that. But as they say, it's better late than never. I love hearing ideas from such awesomely talented folks. This seems so much more positive and bubbly than my normal pessimistic view.

My final slide

No one asked questions that were obnoxious like some of the questions I'd seen earlier in the week. It seemed to me that if someone didn't agree with what you were doing with your thesis, they'd ask some obscure question that bordered on being spiteful. (I learned a little about the nature of some people this week too, and it was sad). It's sad that at an art school, where we're lauded as being open-minded, that some people can be so closed-minded. Especially if your belief system is not the same as theirs. Some of these people push being tolerant in your face, but if you believe something completely different than they do, they try to belittle you or demean what you're trying to say. These people don't deserve to use the word "tolerant" in any of their speeches. I was pissed.

So the week is over, I'm happy for myself and for my fellow thesis proposing classmates. I'm excited to see what the next semester is going to bring (if I can survive 18 units) and putting together my project and watching my friends put theirs together. This makes me happier than any antidepressant. Especially since I'm such an process-oritented person. It's the process of putting together art that really gets me revved up!

Oh, and I created a special bow for my hair that I wore during my presentation. At first, it was going to be a large lime green bug patterned fabric bow with a huge bug on it, and then I realized that I still had the fabric that I used as the background of my intro and exit slides. So I came up with something just as silly. No one noticed the connection though.

November 27, 2010

All the love in loving your body

I've been reading/listening to blogs/vlogs about body acceptance and it kinda gets me to the core.

I'm a severely cynical person. I don't come across bubbly or happy. But I am relatively. I'm mellow to the point of death, and reserved more than that. I DO get excited, but about very little. I look forward to things, I just don't show it. My point is, my personality (to me) doesn't attract people to me. If you want to get to know me, usually you have to wade through my bullshit.
Not to say I'm not worth getting to know. I'm fiercely loyal and would willingly give you the shirt off my back and walk around naked if you needed it.

That being said. I'm following these blogs (see my ever growing links section) and am so inspired by the passion of these women. They want to change the world, and they are sure that they can. I hope they can. I just can't express that same excitement. And I'm jealous. This enthusiasm is contagious though. I find myself reading these  blogs for hours and getting emotionally involved.
I believe that this is the blossoming of a passion that I'm lacking in my life. Not that the passion hasn't presented itself, I just don't project it.

I also am learning that I'm harder on myself than I need to be. I was just remembering two of my teachers from my last school and both (in different semesters) told me that they enjoyed my work at the end of the semester. One even shook my hand. I have fans that have never met me. People want my work adorning their bodies forever. I'm reminded often that my work does touch people and is noticed by those who aren't forced by genetic ties to tell me that I'm good. I want to make their support worth it. I want to make the people that stand behind my work, proud. I want to always work hard to make people happy. AND learn not to bite off more than I can proverbially chew.

I'm excited to get my thesis underway because it's such a thoughtful project and I'm passionate about the process and how I'm portraying this topic.

I hope that I can represent the movement in a positive, loving light....

And learn to love and accept myself in the end.

November 25, 2010

Thesis Abstract

This is what I'm going to be presenting (with my slides behind me) It's long, but this is it, if you want to read it:

Thesis Proposal Abstract

My thesis will be a series of 6, 42 inch constructed paper dolls depicting the standard female body shapes of triangle, inverted triangle, rectangle, diamond, hourglass and oval. Through the construction of the paper dolls assembled over found art in the form of vintage women's underwear ads, I will explore standards of beauty and body image in a lighthearted manner.

The 6 body shapes that I will be depicting are some of the shapes that the fashion industry use to standardize the way that women look in their clothes. These body shapes are what they use to define women's bodies.

Magazines focus on the size and shape of the celebrity du jour. Celebrities like Jessica Simpson gain 20 pounds, and there's a media outcry. She's out of control. Magazine covers are filled with images of her in unflattering poses, or catching her eating. If a female celebrity gains 20 pounds, and is a horrendous beast, what does that make the rest of us that don't fit the media's ideal?

Up until the early part of the 20th century, the image of beauty for women in western societies was a voluptuous, “reproductive” form. Women with full hips, thighs and breasts were painted lovingly by artists. Full bodies were popular because they epitomized fertility, which made them more appealing than lean, masculine-like bodies.

The idolization of female thinness is a recent ideal. It is argued that the thin concept in body image began as a marketing ploy by the fashion industry in the 1920's. They set the standard for cultural beauty in most Western societies. Up until the 1920's clothing and fashion were represented by hand-drawn illustrations that were beautifully painted. Shortly after that, photographs replaced the illustrations and were widely distributed through mass-market magazines. These magazines presented a fantasy image of how women were supposed to look in fashionable clothing which required them to mould their bodies because each look suited a particular body shape. Then women began binding their chests and using foundation garments to achieve these desired body shapes.

The trend of slimness continued through the 40's and 50's, with minor adjustments, movie stars became more shapely, but remained thin throughout the 60's until the thin boyish figure of Twiggy became the role model for a new generation of women.

Fast forward to the present era where magazines and designers choose to use extremely thin models to advertise clothing. This influences women to change the size and shape of their bodies to conform to current trends and culturally-defined body shapes.

Vintage advertisements are a good example of how the media and fashion industries say women should look. By wearing girdles and bras to mould their curves and hide their bulges, women could achieve an image of outer beauty. While the message is still relevant for today, advertisements of yesteryear were less subtle with their message than advertisers of the modern era. Placing these dolls over the vintage ads highlights how vintage media isn't much different than today. They just weren't afraid to say it out loud. Besides, these ads are ludicrous in their messages. “Lose 5 pounds in 5 minutes!” How? Wear this girdle. Have unseemly bulges? Slip these underwear on, and they'll flatten your curves so that you look good in clothes.

I want to create a dialog about body image, how it affects women. Looking at a flat image of a woman as represented by the dolls, hanging on a wall is not meant to solve anyone's body issues, it is merely meant to show that women come in many shapes, and within those shapes is beauty. Women feel awkward about their bodies, showing them standing in their underwear represents this awkwardness. But behind this awkwardness is a power and beauty and confidence that is waiting to be shown.

After researching, and collecting imagery for each body type and matching it with an appropriate vintage ad, I will build the boxes that will house the dolls. These boxes will be hand made from wood, without glass. Why put the dolls in boxes? I want to call attention to the notion that women are on “display”. Every day we put on clothes to cover or accentuate our bodies, makeup to highlight our faces. Women are looked upon to make a presence, to be beautiful. Placing the dolls inside a box is a metaphor for the constraints of beauty standards. Also, by not putting them behind glass, I'm making these symbolic references to women more accessible. Yes, we're expected to be boxed in and conform, to follow the rules of the media. To wear clothing that binds and restricts our figures. These dolls break that mold. They step away from society and the media's norms. They remain accessible, looking you right in the eye and they say “this is me, take me as I am”.

When the boxes are finished, the rest of the process will focus on painting and cutting out the dolls and assembling them.

Painting the different shaped women in gouache on watercolor paper likens the dolls to those fashion illustrations of the 20's. Women were painted with a realistic simplicity in color and line quality that I plan on reflecting in my own illustrations of the dolls.

When the entire process is complete, the dolls will be attached inside the boxes and hung side by side, gallery style and at eye level, so the viewer can make eye contact with them.

We've come a long way as a society, from seeing only the extreme ideal of femininity in media. Commercials are starting to feature people who aren't the cultural norm in terms of body shape. Blogs dedicated to body image and acceptance abound, and magazines are starting to stand up and feature women that break away from traditional body sizes.

This is not a fat acceptance project, but a project that hopes to celebrate the female figure in different shapes.

Through the process of researching images and constructing the paper dolls, I want to explore my own perceptions of body image and open a dialog with viewers about how media influences the way that women perceive themselves. I want to see why some women base their happiness solely on how they look in their clothes and why they compare themselves to the people that they see in the media. I believe these paper dolls are a rebellion against what the media historically has told us is the ideal form.

November 19, 2010


I'm having a tough time coming to terms with the word "acceptance". While my thesis is all about acceptance, my brain is having other thoughts.

I spent the last 10 years trying to motivate myself emotionally and physically to lose the 100 pounds I gained while I was with "Jerkface" (this is what we'll call him for all intents and purposes). I can't blame him 100% for causing me to gain the weight I have now, since we've been apart for so long. I can mostly blame him for starting the ball rolling.
I was bullied to get on Depo Provera because he was "sick" of using condoms for birth control. I did research like a good girl and saw that there was "minor" weight gain and not enough had been published at the time to warrant any fears. The bullying persisted, and I agreed.
In the year that I had the shots. A YEAR (along with further bullying) I gained almost 100 pounds (among other health issues). It seemed like it was overnight.

Now, in the case of genetics, my fathers' side of the family are all fairly meaty people. I had that going for me as well. As well as depression and very low self worth. (Mostly caused by "Jerkface"). After surviving a couple more years of torment, we went our separate ways. I was still 100 pounds overweight.

I went to the gym because it was free through work, I did yoga and pilates (I love pilates!) and started to get my weight and life under control. Then I started taking an anti depressant that fucked my life up even more. I started drinking heavily, my mood changed and I started fighting with my coworkers. I was a ticking time bomb. When I realized that it was medication ruining my life instead of a deadbeat, I snapped back to reality in a major way. I quit my job, stopped the meds and went back to school.

5 years later: I'm at the brink of success with school, all my life's roads have lead me here. I'm happy. I have a stable and extremely loving relationship, I'm close to my family, my outlook is changing and it's all good. But I'm still 100+ pounds overweight. I can't blame it on "Jerkface" any longer. I can't blame it on stress, I can't even blame it on my brother passing away. I blame it on lack of motivation and confusion.

This is where "acceptance" comes into play. If you boil it down to the bare bones, my thesis is about body acceptance. At whatever size. No fat hate, no skinny hate. I want to lose weight so that I can fit into the "cute" clothes, wear tank tops without paranoia, be happy and focus on the more important things... life! And be healthy. And that's ok. I don't have to justify working out or losing weight to anyone but me. If it will help my sleeping, my health and my confidence, so be it. If I'm healthy and happy at a size 22 or a size 16, great. I'm not built to be rail thin. It just won't happen. That's ok too. Being comfortable and confident is what I'm reaching for.

While I was writing this show called "What's eating me" was on, and it's heartbreaking to see that someone's image of their body can be so bad, that they're willing to die to change it. It's sort of opened up another avenue, for my thesis that I hadn't really prepared myself for. I can't sympathize with the same sort of body hate to want to starve myself, but I can sympathize with the motivation.

My Halloween costume. With a little skin exposure. Ooops! I'm normally pretty reluctant to have photos taken of me below the neck. But in the nature of honesty... here I am!

November 14, 2010

Thoughts on joking

I've always hated that it's ok to make fun of fat people in the media. A fat person falls, it's hilarious. Now, in my own defense, ANYONE who falls is fair game for me to laugh at. I don't care what color, sex or size you are. I'm just mean.
Seriously. If you pick on any other social group, race or political group, it's an apparent no-no. Fat people are the last joke frontier.
Now, this is coming from a media standpoint. There are comedians that joke about themselves being fat, I think it's fine. Does that make me a hypocrite? I don't think so. I love when people can laugh at themselves. Fat, skinny, special needs, what have you. I don't think it's funny to have whole websites dedicated to fat people being humiliated.

That being said, and like I stated earlier, I don't agree with skinny hate either. It's counter productive to bash people based on size. This is why this topic is my quest. I'll come out and say it now. I've laughed at people. Yes. From my guts, I've laughed at people falling down, dressing stupid and people who *gasp*  fall. I try to be the best fat girl I can be, but I'm still a cynic deep inside.

I think, unless someone is making fun of themselves, or purposely putting themselves out there TO be made fun of, we, as human beings, should back off. There are times when laughing is ok, as long as no one is hurt, and you show a little compassion for your fellow human, but I think seeing things through another's eyes is the best medicine.

Now, my image for the day makes me bipolar. Not medically, but emotionally. I think it's hilarious, but on the other hand SO amazingly offensive. Am I glad that advertisers are a little more subtle nowadays?

November 12, 2010


Sometimes people can be completely insensitive. But not for reasons that one would think while reading this blog.
While looking for the history of body size I came across this page:

Not real informative. But offensive nonetheless. At the bottom of the page, the author uses a photo of a holocaust victim to compare against a photo of a modern-day model.

While I don't condone making fun of fat people, I don't agree with "skinny girl hate" and I DEFINATELY do not agree with people making this kind of comparison. Not that the image is hateful to the model, but it is completely disgusting to belittle a victim of such a horrendous crime, all in the name of a blog page.

You also get to see some pretty ignorant commentary from the readers as well.

November 7, 2010

Diet is a four-letter word

After a lot of talking with my mentor, and mulling in my head, I'm ok with the path I'm taking. But I have to clear things up a little bit.

I don't want anyone to think that I disagree with a healthy lifestyle. You can be happy with your body at any state, size or shape.
Personally, I'd love to lose the 100lbs (yes, you read that right) I gained during and after an abusive relationship years ago. I would be ecstatic to lose 40lbs. Not because I hate my body, but because I'm sick of being unhealthy. I'm sick of being out of breath, I'm sick of being exhausted. I'll even admit to being sick of not being able to find clothes that I like at thrift and vintage stores that fit me.
I want to be able to be comfortable in my skin, and if that means learning to accept myself while I get healthy, that's great.

I AM a firm believer in being healthy at any weight/size. It's possible. If I lose 10 pounds, and that's it, but I am able to feel good and walk up a flight of stairs and not get winded, fine.

While I'm at it. I found this book while I was researching, and just the title alone, pissed me off:

This, to me, reinforces this negative view that others have toward anyone who isn't skinny. Big, bold, red letters THIS IS WHY YOU'RE FAT (you big lazy blob of lard). Fat=Bad and everyone who can read should avoid being fat, period.

November 5, 2010

I'm the one

I felt for a long time that I may not be the one to say what I have to say with my thesis. I'm not an activist. I'm not one that likes to be noticed.

Then I realized. I do pinups. I draw women who I feel are under represented in media. I draw big ladies doing fun stuff like reading comics, dancing to records or walking tightropes. I'm already saying it. If I feel that I'm the person who's saying that these women can be beautiful, I can say that this thesis project is showing me, that anyone at any shape, can be beautiful too.

So I AM the one that's going to say it.
I'm going to prove it to myself. And if anyone else along the way gets something from it. Awesome.

November 4, 2010

First rough presentation

I was scared. Not nervous. Physically frightened. It was the unknown. The not knowing what was supposed to come next, what was expected of me, made me disassociate and want to melt into the floor.

When I was called to the front of the class, I mustered up enough false confidence to get me through my presentation. I hate public speaking. I hate talking about my art. (Way to go, art school loser).
It's not the talking about my work that I hate. It's the pretentious air I have to fake to push through.
While I'm on it. I HATE the word "Juxtapose". There I said it. I'm in art school, and I hate that word with a firey passion. Teachers and students alike use this word because it makes them sound smart. Find another word that works, like say, contrast. Mix. Different. Lets bust out the thesaurus and see if there is something else we can use that will differentiate you from all the other pretentious folks out there.

Anyhow, I mustered my strength, and projected my voice to the back of the room. (We know my loud ass doesn't have an issue with this). I read from my notes, clicked through my slides, and was done. I have to say, I really thought my slides weren't up to muster.
But they were. Absolutely. I had everything laid out the way they were supposed to be, I talked about what I was supposed to, and was done. I did better than I ever thought I could! I won't say it was perfect, because it wasn't. I have things I need to change, and edit. I need to talk more about WHY I'm doing this project, which is the hard part for me. Why? WHY!? Why do I make art?!
Anyhow, I was surprised. I was expecting to be shot down immediately, and wasn't. The instructor said my presentation was good. I think. I don't remember the words he used, but they were of a positive variety.

I'm not gloating, there's nothing to gloat about. But it is an affirmation that I'm moving in the right direction and that I was doing the right thing while I was stressing. Now, if I can get over being nervous and talk more about my work, then I'll be in good shape.

Then, last night, I popped into a class I was making up, and another student commented on how good my slides were. REALLY?! One of my peers thinks I did a good job? This meant more to me than any teacher comment could. I don't take compliments well, I'm always afraid that my "thank you" will come across as snobby or crass. I also don't like being told that I'm good or doing well in front of other people (especially peers) because I think it makes me look snobby. I'm not. I'm insecure. But I will take the compliments to heart and keep on truckin'.

November 2, 2010

Final Mock Up

The final will be wider with a smaller image, but you get the idea. Imagine this, but at least 42 inches high.

November 1, 2010


I usually loathe doctors. The last doctor I had took one look at me and basically made me feel like a complete moron. He would NOT treat me. When my shoulder flared up he literally said "stretch it, you'll be fine".  I hate this man.
You'd understand my surprise when I chose a new one, and she acts like she gives a shit!

After seeing her about this horn growing out of my head, she stopped, and asked me how I was doing.

"Not so well, I'm stressed, nervous and exhausted. I'm in the beginning of my thesis year and I'm a nervous wreck."
"Oh, proposal time, eh?" she said, and proceeded to ask me about my project. I gave her the quick and dirty version without updates and she told me that she thought it was a fantastic idea and even offered a suggestion for my inspiration section.

"Cirque Du Soilei's 'Zumanity' has a couple of women who are rather large (I'm not sure how, I haven't seen the show, but have heard about these women) who wear very sensual outfits and perform their routine and seem very confident about their bodies. I've heard it's really good, you should look them up."

I guess in the spirit of procrastination, I didn't. Until tonight. And now I'm kicking myself. They are FANtastic. They are called the Botero Sisters, and they come from a family of performers.

Here's an article (with photos) with them in it.
The Botero Sisters

I'm even more happy that I can use multimedia with my presentation. Now, I just have to see how much of a fraud I look like because I slid them in at the last minute. But they fit in perfectly with my proposal.

October 31, 2010


I'm going to leave this project here, where it stands. You get the idea.
Although, I may just post the final in my art blog.

The paper this doll was created on is the smoothest paper I've worked with. It's like butter, and I hope it's watercolor paper and not printmaking paper. It's off-white, which saves me the trouble of having to tint it myself.
I need to take a scrap of it to the art store and see who makes it. It doesn't have a watermark on it. When I find out who makes it, I'm buying a case. At first, I didn't think it would stand up to the paint and would wrinkle, and bend. It did a little but I flattened it. As soon as I cut the parts out, I realized that this may be the paper I need for the final. I'll see, as soon as I assemble everything together.

I'm glad I made a better mockup. This last project took a lot of valuable time away from my other work, but I learned a lot about my process and how I'll end up assembling the finals next semester. I'm sure there is a lot more plotting that needs to be done, but that is also just part of the process.

Process 2


I made  a version of the my proposed dolls to present to my teacher last week. He wasn't very pleased about what I brought in.
I'll admit. It didn't look very good, I rushed through it, and wasn't happy about doing it for some reason. So I spent several hours this week working on another mockup for my first presentation on Tuesday.

Speaking of presentation, I'm not as nervous about it as I was earlier last week. Although, I feel like I'm missing out on the artists I should include as inspiration. This is what makes me a little unsure. But we'll see. I'm glad that we have a little bit of time to run through these before we hit the main stage and present to our prospective mentors.

Here's some progress shot of my new mockup. I like her a lot. I'm also learning about how I'm going to put these things together..
First "rough" drawing. Yes, I cut off her head, because I drew her face/head separately and drew the body on a different sheet of paper.

Ink outline applied.
This is the shadow layer.

October 27, 2010


I felt like I was on top of the world, looking forward to getting this project under way, I had my head straight. Then we talked about putting together our presentations, I was afraid. Why? Because I let my fear get in the way. I didn't know what images I was going to use.
Stress greeted me when I woke up this morning... until all of the sudden, ten minutes ago, I had a realization.

I didn't want to do "empowering" project because I didn't think that was my responsability. But maybe it is in a different way. Maybe, by showing what a normal woman looks like (i.e the 6 various body shapes in real form) is what I'm supposed to do. Maybe this project will help me improve my own self image and self worth.

I struggled with making this project about sadness and insecurity, because that is the core of who I am, but I don't have to make my thesis a project on happiness and empowerment, but I can make it a project on acceptance. And that's ok, I don't have to fight it.

We have to find images of artists who inspire us in regards to our thesis. And one that almost instantly popped up in my head this morning was Hilda by Duane Bryer. Maybe I need to explore this further, and include some of my own chubby pin ups.

October 22, 2010

Yet another blather

I'm here again. Whining about wanting to quit. I'm tired of saying it, tired of typing it. I don't *want* to quit. I  just feel beat down and feel like it's the best option. But I know it's not.

I know that in 8 months, when this is all said and done, I will come back to this post and say "you're an idiot, you should have stopped whining".

I'm mentally beat down, physically ill. Why? Because of stress. I'm stressed that I'm not doing anything right, that I'm going to fail.

Usually I'm OK with failure. I've learned to accept my mistakes as lessons and even have learned to take personal responsibility for my actions.

I'm a quitter. Always have been. When the going got tough, I got going. I've been like this since childhood. Fear of success has held me at bay as well. I know that once I get past the hurdle and the little voice telling me to quit, I'll be ok. But WILL I get there? Will I give in?

I used to be so smart. Witty, on top of it all. The last 8 months, I've felt like my brain is slowly slipping away, and taking my intellegence and perception with it.

I'm so depressed I can't stand it and I don't know what to do about it. Will my therapist even help? Sad thing is, I can't even afford to see her.

I love art. I love illustration. It's the only thing I honestly know how to do. I'm good with numbers (and a calculator) but drawing is where my heart is. I convinced myself to go back to school (and I'm so glad that I did) because I didn't want to be 75 years old and regret not going back and getting my degree. It's taken me over 10 years to get to this point. I can't quit. But it seems the Universe is fighting me, and I don't know how much strength I have to keep going with these odds.

I do feel a little better, but the pressure is getting to me. I'm so afraid.

October 19, 2010

Possible realization *notes*

Forgive the choppy, rambling nature that this post is.... but it's just a place to take my notes down for now.

Things I'm finding out.
I don't think we should take what society/media tells us about our bodies seriously.

Windows/frames/boxes that the dolls will reside in are a way that media/society says what we should be/what we should fit into. The dolls standing away from the background is my way of saying "NO".

Hinged dolls are representative of the doll. Looks like a doll. Women referred to as "dolls". Body images being compared to Barbie, who is a doll.

Dolls represent childhood and the desire to always be young/beautiful

Exaggerated body shapes say no to standardized body shapes.

Backgrounds will be vintage underwear ads telling us that wearing this garment will make us beautiful. Doll is pushing/standing away from this notion.

I need to stop over thinking this project because it's starting to make me insecure and it's also making it hard for me to focus on what I'm trying to portray. I felt relatively comfortable talking to my instructor about my insecurities, but I still feel a little insecure. My point is apparent, but I think I'm making it have too many tangents.

October 14, 2010

The Information Superhighway

I'm hoping this blog will help me with my lack of focus. By opening it up to strangers and friends alike, I hope I can get the feedback that I need. Besides, this is fun.
I deactivated my Twitter account a while ago because I wasn't using it and it really didn't have an appeal for me. But I started a new one and encourage people to interact with me.

I know that the title may offend and it also makes me feel exposed. Like acknowleging that I'm fat is supposed to make me scared. But it doesn't. And I'm ok with that.

My thesis is in part, supposed to help me be ok with myself. Fat, thin, and everywhere in between.

I will never be skinny. And that's okay. This doesn't mean that I want to stay where I am now. While I'm not meant to be skinny, I'm not meant to be winded going up a flight of stairs. So while I try to expose how I feel about my body through art, I also want to change my body and take care of this "temple". AND learn to love me, inside and out.
Maybe I'll inspire someone, maybe I'll find more people to inspire me!

So here's to learning!

October 13, 2010

Right Track?

Since I stood in front of the class to present my mood boards was a total failure, I've begun to wonder if I'm on the right track as an artist, and as a thesis presenter.
What am I trying to accomplish?

I want to make these large dolls in varying "typical" body shapes because they started out as a personal project for me. I wanted to do these for myself. Why?
I don't really know. A lot of my work could be considered subconcious. I make art, and then look at it and say "that has a lot of symbolism that I wasn't aware of while I was painting".
So I'm thinking of why I want to do this thesis.

It isn't to bring awareness of body issues. Women are very aware of this issue. The media is very aware of this issue. I'm not trying to educate with my thesis. I guess that I'm trying to share the feelings women have that have these body shapes. I'm not trying to represent the empowered woman, because honestly, I'm not empowered, as are very few of the women I know.
Don't get me wrong, I know a lot of women who are of the proud belief that "I'm fat, love me as I am" and while I GREATLY admire these women, I am not one of them, and I cannot relate.
This backs up the multi-million dollar weight loss surgery industry. In my opinion, (as someone who would qualify for WLS) there are some instances where WLS has saved lives, but this is not a blog about my opinions on WLS.
I'm really struggling with the "point" of my thesis. I feel like it's staring me in the face, but I'm not getting it.

I love the ads "targeted" to me!
My own struggles of body image by depicting women in various body shapes? No... yes. I can't speak for everyone. Maybe I should do research on more womens issues. *shrug*

October 9, 2010


A new day, a new post. If you're here, you're interested in what I have to say. If you found me by accident, stick around, you might learn something.

I'll be posting my art process and my learning process. There's a lot to be learned about the human body and psyche. Especially pertaining to the way that we see ourselves.