October 20, 2011

This is my revolution

This is my creativespace. It's meant to be messy.
After many conversations, and contemplating, I realized how much it pains me to see women degrading themselves. I'm not going to preach about it. I'm not going to lecture you about it.
I just want to see YOU celebrating the awesomeness that is YOU.

"Fuck Society" sure. "Fuck Self Hate" YES!

This is where YOU come in.

It's time we stopped posting images of other women, and start taking ourselves seriously. No one body is better than the other. No one body is more beautiful than the other.

WE are real women.
WE are fat, skinny, curvy, rail-thin, average and everything in between. We have knobby knees, jiggly arms, freckles, scars, bony fingers, pudgy fingers, curly, unruly hair. We have different faces, and different bodies, and the most amazing thing, the beauty of diversity is being lost in petty and senseless finger pointing and shaming.
WE need to stop looking to women of TV, movies, magazines and other media to compare our bodies to.
WE ARE real women. YOU are a REAL WOMAN.

FUCK SOCIETY, be happy with YOUR body.

Don't just take one day to love your body, spend the remainder of your years on this rock loving your body.

I know I'm opening myself up to all the small-minded folks who revel in making fun of other people. But so be it. If it makes you feel better to belittle someone based on how they look, then I'm glad that I could accommodate. Take time out of your life to focus energy on me and not realize that all you're doing is showing how tiny and insignificant you are. I love me, it's sad that you don't love you.

Just say NO to unnecessary comparisons!

October 11, 2011

Start a Revolution, Love Your Own Body

A picture has been floating around Facebook for a little while. It shows Marilyn Monroe and various wording floating around her grinning face. The words say something like "Fuck Society" and "This is real beauty" or  "This is more attractive than this" with a photo of a very thin woman.

While there is great positive energy behind the movement, I don't see women taking the time to think about the things they're saying. Women use Marilyn as an icon of beauty to rebel against modern standards. The "ideal" by today's standards is a body that encompasses what is typically considered the unattainable. If the perfect body were easy to achieve, then it wouldn't be the "ideal". Also, the ideal is highly subjective. Like I've said 100 times before, what I find beautiful, may not be appealing to my neighbor. The media will try to tell you that you have to conform to standards set in magazines and television ads. Other women might even tell you that you have to conform to these standards. Marilyn, while gorgeous, isn't telling you to not conform to media standards.

Forwarding an image of a 60's sex symbol doesn't promote an ideal source of beauty. Marilyn was "average" (in body size) for her time period. Curvy, full-busted, blonde. She adhered to what Hollywood was selling. She was as real and "normal" as any Hollywood actress is today.

Comparing a dated photo of a woman who was conforming to Hollywood standards 40+ years ago to women who are conforming to modern-day standards doesn't make any sense. Why don't we start posting photos of ourselves and saying "Fuck Society, I'm happy with the way I look"?

I want to see photos of flawed (normal) women saying they love themselves. To hell what everyone else wants to see. Flaunt your jiggly thighs! Revel in your lunch lady arms! (I'd love to). Dace with your knobby knees out and celebrate your body. Fat AND thin.
Tell the world that you don't conform!
Fuck society!

I'm sure there are those that would prefer the zombie, but you get my point.
Comparing images of two opposing subjects, eras, or viewpoints doesn't promote body acceptance.
Rebel! Forward images of yourself!

Start a revolution, love your body.
As hard as it is, and with as many setbacks as I've had, I love more about "me" today than I have in my short 35 years than I ever have.

I nabbed this from someone else's blog because I completely agree with the big red "x".
It's all subjective, my dears.

July 7, 2011

There are 3 billion women who don't look like supermodels and 3 that do

A while ago (yes, I've been meaning to write this for over a month) there was a photo circulating Facebook of an ad for The Body Shop that an image of a plus-sized doll named Ruby. 
The "Love Your Body" campaign started in the late 90's depicting an ample, curvy woman rebelling against cosmetic corporations unrealistic beauty standards. 

Ruby challenged the notion that every woman has to be thin to be beautiful. This campaign is obviously intriguing for me because it touches on the same ideas of my thesis. While the process of my thesis is over, the message is not. I'm not done saying what I have to say.

Posters and ads were hung all over Body Shop's across the world, in train stations, shop windows, magazines. And then along comes Mattel, the maker of the oft imitated Barbie™ who in some way had to think that The Body Shop was trying to nose its way into their market, or in some way, making fun of their disproportionate doll and served The Body Shop with a cease and disist order.

What's wrong Mattel? Afraid that women would be tempted to follow in Ruby's footsteps and accept themselves as they are and stop paying for painful and expensive surgeries to emulate a doll that couldn't possibly stand on her own? Afraid that there might actually be a market for a beautiful, amply-proportioned doll? Is there a remote possibility that The Body Shop may have been mocking your own standards of beauty?

I'd actually love to see a diverse shape of dolls on the shelves. Young girls need to see that there are more body shapes in the world. It's as simple as making a mold and pouring plastic into it. I'd love to take this on. Hey, anyone out there a multi-millionaire and want to back a project with me? If you don't want to think that dolls have an effect on girls' psyches, than agree with the visual aesthetics of looking at dolls that all look different than each other? I remember when I played with Barbie I used to think they all looked exactly the same and just had different hair colors. I wasn't overly influenced by their body shapes because I was too busy pulling their heads off, cutting the hair into wild styles and putting on plays in my closet set as the stage.

It's about time that corporate America stops thinking about its bottom line and image, and how their influence affects the rest of us. Ruby's legacy was over ten years ago, and if Mattel gets their way, there will not be another Ruby, from anyone.

For now, I've got my super secret project.

One of my references was from this page, whose author is much more eloquent than I am. 

May 6, 2011


I was able to pick up a CD with images from my thesis presentation. Thankfully, there weren't any of me speaking. This isn't a horror blog!

I've never been so terrified in my entire life. I tried to psychoanalyze what was making me afraid speaking in public, and the only thing that I could come up with was that I was afraid of messing up. So I started my speech and found that I was reading from my cards too heavily. I couldn't stop myself. I looked up at my panel, and then looked over at an area where there weren't any people. Who was I speaking to?
I was able to break away from the podium, but barely. I think I felt like I needed to hold onto something grounded. Maybe so that I didn't float away? So that I didn't faint?

I had a small group that came to watch me talk. Some were strangers (one woman came up to me to apologize that she was going to have to leave before it was over, but was really excited to see my presentation), there were some friends that came to see my presentation (how cool is that?!) and some classmates (having them there really comforted me). I didn't want a big crowd, and what I had was PERFECT.

The speech was over before I knew it. The entire process was emotional, draining and everything it needed to be. I won't go into details, but I will say this. Everything that happened during my speech, from tears to joy, was everything that I had ever wanted and more. I touched people. And as cynical as I've grown to be,  I was able to reach out and connect with people who've suffered cruelly from others because of their bodies. I never expected to get a reaction, to get people excited for what I was doing. I DID IT! I touched people. What an honor. Seriously.

A week later, and I still don't have the right words to sum up the entire experience. I will sit and write out something a little more eloquent later.

For now, here's a sampling of images of the layout :

(Photos by Heather Zinger)

May 2, 2011

Did she just say that?!

Did Ellen Degeneres JUST tell me "Inner beauty is important, but not nearly as important as outer beauty"?!

Even meant as a joke, it's a poor way to address beauty standards. Of all people, I would have expected something more from her. There's a way to make something that sounds so ludicrous into a joke, and I didn't see it.

I'm a big fan of sarcasm, and if there was any way that sarcasm was supposed to be in this commercial, it was lost in editing.

May 1, 2011

Where do we go from here?

My thesis is over.... For the time being. But it's not dead. It will live on with the expansion of this blog (what the world needs is more active and updated body acceptance blogs) and with a book project that I'm in the process of planning.

No, I'm not in the stages of penning a memoir. I don't have a captivating story that anyone wants to read. But I'm not really going to share the nature of this project with anyone (outside of what I said in my thesis defense) until I have more of it planned out and created. Thankfully, there's kickstarter.com. I'm going to try my hand at raising some funds so that I can get my book printed.

Aside from that, IT'S DONE!! I thought that I would fall on my face, and die. But I didn't. It was very unnerving and although, I thought I knew my notes, I felt like I was so nervous that I had to rely on them more than I cared to.
I had a small group, but that's ok, because there were people there that I care about and who cared about my project. I'm not used to having such caring people actually give a shit about what I'm doing and I can't even come up with the right words to express exactly how awesome that makes me feel.

I got to see how my project touched people. And I could have failed my thesis and had to start over and even if that happened, knowing that I touched people, my thesis would have still been successful. I don't care if it sounds too "lollipop and sunshine" but the reason I did this project was to reach out to EVERYONE and especially women who've been tormented. Us fatties aren't the only ones who get taunted and jeered at. And we all need to accept this, and we all need to accept that we are different and beautiful and spending time pointing out that someone's too fat, or someone's too skinny is just a waste of energy. There are so many more beautiful things that we could be doing!
So go shove your "real women have curves" line of insecurity and throw using "fat" as a lame insult out the window. Say something nice to someone that doesn't have anything to do with their size for once. Compliment their radiant smile, or their gorgeous eyes, rapturing personalities, amazing talent! Look, at all the other more positive adjectives you can use. I helped you out.

I nabbed a photo of my presentation from my friend Christy, who was there with her family to support me. Another thing that gets me, is that NO ONE had to come to this presentation. But they did. Students, strangers and friends. WOW!

Pretty dolls all in a row

I might have some more images coming that I'll share with you next week. But right now, the birds are chirping, the sky is finally blue and it's over 48 degrees. I've spent the last several months tethered to my desk. I'm taking my pup and am going to soak up some vitamin D.

Stay in touch.

April 23, 2011

Diary of a fat artist: Take aways!

Diary of a fat artist: Take aways!: "So I made some prints of my first mockup doll as a take away for a few people who come to my thesis presentation. I was beyond frustrated ..."

Take aways!

So I made some prints of my first mockup doll as a take away for a few people who come to my thesis presentation.

I was beyond frustrated because I didn't think I had scanned my original after painting and before I cut it out. So I attempted to remake it, but just couldn't get it to where I wanted it, and after about 5 or so versions, I picked the one that didn't suck.

When I got to school the next day to scan it, I saw that I HAD in fact scanned the original before printing!

Hurray for being neurotic about documenting my process!

So I whipped together my doll take away.

I already bought display bags, brads and little baggies for the brads as well as a corner rounder (which is my new obsession. I've been rounding the corners on everything in the house) and put together about 20 take aways.

Here are some really unprofessional photos of my process:

Corners cut!

In the bag!

Brads inside

This little machine is one of the best things
I've bought in ages

All done!

I enjoyed making these and hope that they are successful enough to warrant ordering them. I really think they turned out gorgeously.

April 13, 2011


I've been talking mostly about the process of constructing my body image dolls, and not so much about the boxes they'll be standing in front of. These boxes will be hanging on the wall with the dolls on stands in front.

My "Fubs" (or future husband for those not in the know) is a dynamo with a saw and some nails. We were a little worried about how these things would come together without ruining the ads underneath. But they came out amazing!

I chose vintage ads as the background for my dolls because they represent a time when the fashion industry sought to urge women to mould themselves into certain shapes. Now, I'm not saying that modern media doesn't do the same thing. It's just that advertisements of yesteryear use such absurd and sexist wording and imagery to sell their products. A faceless woman selling you underwear. A woman tethered (an obvious control issue) and told that she can be a "living doll". There was no fear of upheaval from women for blatant sexist ads.
Modern advertisements are just as absurd, but they're just a tad more subtle, and honestly, not as funny to me. I can't look at these vintage ads and wonder what agencies were thinking. I highly doubt that it is as interesting as any episode of Mad Men could portray. (Check out this link to see some even more obnoxiously absurd sexist ads)

While the four images I'm sharing don't show the breadth of the images I'm using, it's a small sample. I like that my awesome dude was quick to help without a peep of complaint, and they look gorgeous!

April 10, 2011

My dog ate my homework

I've never used this excuse in school. I've never really been a good liar. So I just tell the truth. If I forgot, I forgot. If I f@&#ed up, I effed up. Plain. Lying just makes you look irresponsible. Although, I AM flaky. I forget a lot. I try to keep a calander, I write LOTS of notes to myself, but sometimes, I get really wrapped up in one project and forget others. I'll call it a personality flaw. Big time.

But this time, for real, my dog ate my homework.

Not just my homework.

But my HAND.

And part of my arm.

Oh the humanity!

I wasn't TOO upset by it because I needed to redo the arm and hand, but I was hoping to recycle those parts because I'm not sure if I have the same skin tone hanging around in a cup.

I'm going to take this in stride and see it with humor. Because, it really is pretty funny.

April 3, 2011

A new round

I was asked to take photos of the "graduation" dress I just ordered. You know what that means, right? FULL BODY photographs.

While I was taking them, I didn't seem to have an issue, but now that I've looked at them, up comes the old "I hate looking at full body shots" issue I had when I started my thesis. You'd think I'd be a little further with my body issues, since I've been doing so much research, drawing and painting.


Wait, let me back up a little. I DID photograph myself in my underwear (pretty cute undies if I do say so myself). And while I was a little uncomfortable sharing the images at first, I figured I'd share them on my Tumblr page and Facebook page. What's the big deal with me in a dress?

I honestly don't know. But it all came crashing down on me when I took these photos. Sometimes a high-waisted dress will make me arch my back while I'm wearing it, thus making me look pregnant-y.

This made me think: this body acceptance thing is such a process. I thought it would be really easy. I do research, I photograph models of varying body shapes, I draw, I paint. I've been immersed in this process for a couple of months, I should be a lot further. While I feel better than when I started, I guess I expected to be a glowing model of how a woman could turn her mental attitude around.


I hate the way I look in these photos. I love the way I looked in the dress when I put it on. I was so glad that it fit just about right, and looked really cute on me. I hate how the camera makes me look bigger. Or maybe my brain makes me look smaller. I catch myself walking past mirrors and saying to myself "I look pretty good, I like the way I look". But when forced to look at full-length photos of myself, I can't stand it.

It's a wake up call to realize that this process is more involved and longer than I thought. I've come a long way, and I still have a little bit of a hurdle to jump. But maybe it's the wake up call I need to be more actively engaged in the process.

Here they are:

Me. Dogs. They had to be involved.

I'm so white, the flash washes
me out.

Ooh...model-y. SHAZAM!

March 28, 2011

Humbling experiences

This is where I take the time to thank everyone that's chipped in to help me with my project. In the spirit of anonymity, I won't mention names but you know who you are.

I would NOT have been able to accomplish this on my own. Searching for reference photos online is like trying to find an overly used cliche in a haystack. It just couldn't be done.
I didn't have to search high and low for images, I didn't have to do hours of altering. I got pretty much what I wanted the first round through.

I even had help from someone I've never met in person. The power of social networking is highlighted AGAIN in my thesis!

If you see one of my images that looks familiar, but doesn't look like you. Good! I worked really hard to change the way they looked. Mostly because I used some school mates, and while these are hanging, I didn't want the spirit of my project to be overshadowed with "Oh, I know her, and here she is in her undies".

I also didn't want them to look exactly like my models because I didn't wan to disappoint if they didn't look EXACTLY like them. This is where my severe case of perfectionism comes into play. Altering them took some of this weight off. Again, it was mainly just to make my dolls more "every woman". They are, for the most part ethnically ambiguous. Again, because I didn't want this to overshadow the "every woman" feel I was going for.

Sneaky peek.

There is one that is eerily close to the model, and if that bothers her, I apologize in advance. In my defense, it's a good looking doll. The other that concerned me, is one that I changed the face SO much, it no longer resembles the model at all. Save for the body shape. This model is highly recognizable when drawn, and I was afraid that if I even remotely used her face, it would deflect. I hope that she's not disappointed.

And there is my partner in crime who's gone out on a limb, spent time, weekends, energy and money building my displays. I really have no idea how I'm ever going to repay his kindness and hard work. I mean, seriously hard work. Just look at the diagrams he drew for the boxes:

He's spent entire days laboring over these, countless trips to Home Depot to replace wood, primer and paint. Inhaled fumes for hours (he already has had sinus surgery to remove polyps) and froze his freckly buns off in the garage cutting, spraying and nailing. It means the world to me.

So, before I get weepy and emotional, I mean it from the pit of my soul. THANK YOU to all that have helped. Now, I have to get back to work.

I'll leave you with more relavant fat humor. I know this is meant as a put-down, but I think that doll is beautiful!

Eat this low fat food, you'll fit into your clothes!

March 23, 2011

I have to interrupt this blog

To scream at the top of my lungs... that I'm GETTING MARRIED!

Taking a long weekend to the coast with the boy and his brother did me well. It reset my brain, and reset my motivation. I felt like I was swimming through mud, and I feel like I "click" and am ready to get back into the swing of pumping out work.
Although it's hard to get out of vacation mode and pulling myself out of euphoria to get work done.

I'm going to keep it short, because I'm still trying to wrap my brain around it. I've known him practically all my life, and our reconnection is the stuff of fairy tales, and before I get barf-worthy, I have to show the junk! The gushy junk!

He knows me well. I'm not a trend follower, or a trend setter. I didn't get a mass-produced ring straight from Fred Meyers. It's an art deco ring from the 20's and individual as I hope that I am. I'm not a ring upgrader, I didn't even require a ring. He's the old fashioned one. Either way, I'm happy as a lark.

Could I be, growing up?

March 10, 2011

I'll just leave this here

Not much in the research and facts to share for this blog post. Mostly photos of how things are going.

I started the large (and final) version of my doll last week. After sketching the face and patting myself on the shoulder because I was happy with what I had, I started inking it only to realize that the eye was NOT OK! Crossed, even.
When drawing facial features like eyes, even a slight mistake becomes GLARING and just not right. No matter how hard I tried to fix it, it just would work.

I had to start over. I handled it better than expected. There was no throwing stuff, and only minimal cussing.

It looks ok now, but when the ink started
flying, the eye started running.

I can say that I'm honestly very happy with how the new one came out. So much so that when I put the highlight in the eye, I started to cry. It's very rare that I'm that satisfied with my work. I think after the terrible afternoon I had and having to start over, it was a welcome relief to have magic happen.

Already the newer, prettier sister came out to play

So not only is this thesis process helping me learn to love my own body, it's also teaching me that I've grown considerably in the last several years. I can tell you that I wasn't like this years ago. If I was at the peak of my frustration, I would break things and scream. Much like a baby. Growth is magical. It shows in my work, too.

Only a peek for now. I don't want to share
the entire image until I have all of the girls done.

I also have a mockup done of my hourglass shaped doll. Note: my dolls do not look like their human models. This is done on purpose. While they WILL resemble them slightly, if you've modeled for me, you will probably recognize parts of yourself in the dolls (characteristics, personality, sense of humor, etc). The doll I used to represent me, does look like me, because it IS me.

Hourglass shape:

In pieces!

As much as I look at them, I still get creeped
out by looking at all the parts separately.
Your closeup, miss hourglass.

The mockup versions of the dolls help me visualize how the parts are going to go together for the larger versions. Because I want these to be pretty close to anatomically correct, I don't want to go from rough sketch to final and find out that the pose does not work. I'm used to making very illustrative dolls, anatomy didn't matter. I could "make it work". But I really appreciate having the little versions to work from.

While this lady may resemble the model to people
who know her, you shouldn't be able to flip through
my Facebook friends list and pick her out. I hope I captured
the "quirk".
We also had our midterm reviews this week. This event is for second semester seniors to get together with members of the community who work in illustration and design fields (I'm speaking purely for the illustration department, here). Each student has 45 minutes to present their thesis idea, sketches, and whatever finals that are complete to a 3-person panel (who don't know you, and have never seen your work and don't know a thing about your thesis).
I figured I'd wing it because somewhere in my brain, I have the ego of Donald Trump. I figured I could blow through my ideas and get to the questions.

WRONG. I lost my train of thought halfway through, and (in my mind) I couldn't describe what I thought was a very concise version of my thesis project (see right side of my blog).

Promo card for the midterm review panel to
take. I think I'll print some of these to keep
on hand and to give out at my oral.
Even though I felt like I rambled through something I'd tell my grandmother, my wobbly knees and sweat-soaked forehead (was it hot or just me?) I got some amazing feedback and the energy was out of sight. I was given some things to watch out for, things that I need to make sure to include, and some great support. My mentor popped in a couple of times and having her in the room really gave me a little spine that I needed. 

When it was over and I was clearing up my space, the department head came in and commented on my progress. See, I had him last semester for my Professional Practices class and I struggled through the first half of the semester while we were formulating our thesis ideas. I struggled with my concept, I struggled with assignments, I struggled to get my act together because I had to change my thesis idea after having it all planned out for two years. Needless to say, we had moments where it seemed he was talking and it wasn't sinking in. (We won't talk about the one time he high-fived me)

This is the first time he'd seen my thesis work this semester. We had a pleasant conversation about it and he seemed pleased, which sort of caught me off guard because honestly, I'm used to being a little intimidated by him. For a moment I felt like a peer, like what I was doing could even be considered professional. Well, especially since he held open my plastic bag while I put my sketches and presentation materials in it.

I haven't been able to read the summary and evaluation sheet from the review. I know that it's mostly positive, but I just can't bring myself to do it just yet.

Maybe tomorrow.

March 3, 2011

Color Me Confused

I love clothes (see last post). I have some clothing companies on my Facebook page. I like seeing what's out there, especially for companies that make plus-sized clothing.

Imagine my confusion when I looked at my news feed and saw one City Chic's posts about body slimmers, or shapewear. I like having this company on my feed because they normally post links to amazing blogs about body acceptance and plus sized models, etc.
But, check this out:

Now help me figure this out, because I'm a little confused.
What about squeezing into shapewear is celebrating and EMBRACING your body? I'm a little dense at times, but one would think that by squeezing your fat and curves into underclothes that mask, flatten and mould your body into acceptable shapes (acceptable by social standards) would be HIDING your body, and not accepting it for what it is naturally. I know I'm far from wanting to embrace anything when I spend 30 minutes trying to get my ass into Spanx, that's for sure.

But that's just me.

Help me find a common ground here before I make a rude comment on this post.

Oh, and *DING* *DING* *DING* we have a winner for catch phrase of the century. Can you guess what it is?!

Yep: "Real Women".

March 2, 2011

Fashionable, even.

While I'm not a very fashionable person, I love reading about my fellow fatties who are. While browsing Lips, Hips and FATshion tips, I saw a post about dresses at an online plus-sized retailer, eShakti. After spending way too much time wishing I had money to buy dresses, I came upon this dress: http://www.eshakti.com/clothpdpage.asp?catalog=Clothes&cate=day+dresses&productid=CL0019208&pcat

I showed this dress to both my mom and dad, and the three of us had tears in our eyes, and my mom offered to buy this for me as a graduation pressent. I couldn't be happier.

The hummingbirds are especially meaningful to me. They're my big brothers' spirit animal. I won't go into detail about my brother's death and hummingbirds. I'll just say one visited me while talking to my therapist the day after he died in 2007. Ever since then, I've noticed hummingbirds in unusual situations where they shouldn't be. I know that is his way of watching out for me.

My brother was a BIG supporter of my art. He was and always will be, my #1 fan. Encouraged me to go back to school, and couldn't wait to get something of mine tattooed on him. We may not have had the easiest relationship, but I'm glad that he was in my life and I miss him incredibly every day.

So that being said, I ordered this dress so that I can honor his memory when I finally complete what he was so supportive of.
It seems a little silly, a chunk of fabric sewed into a dress can be meaningful, it's the intent behind it. It's silly and serious at the same time. I think he'd appreciate it.

I miss him terribly.

Also, I really like the shop's motto, it fits with the spirit of what I'm doing:

I've spent plenty of time complaining that the fashion industry isn't built for women, especially women of size. Bras, shirts, etc. Not meant to fit us at all, but a mannequin. This retailer makes some of my fashion issues a little easier. They have an option where you can customize the fit. Which is great for my big hipped, small breasted body happy. I'm sure I'll have a lot to say when my dress gets here.
It's just like Christmas!

February 24, 2011

Photo Dump

I don't have anything wordy to say, just a lot of photo updates on my own doll.

Other sketches coming soon.

On my way!

Scared to bits (not really)

Look how sassy! 11-12" tall.

I'm glad I made a small version
of this one, I know what needs
to be worked on when I go to final.

Like I've said. I was generous

This is one of the boxes that will have an
enlarged vintage ad mounted inside it and
hung behind the dolls.

My awesome boyfriend constructed these in and hour

Ignore the messy garage!