Well of course I love Carolyn Stitch’s art, and I love it even more now that I know she lives and works in Holland, Michigan!
Carolyn shares her love of art by opening her studio to friends, groups, parties, offering classes year round and art camps during the summer; and she especially enjoys working with kids and watching them create amazing art.
She has lots of different art, all bright colored and whimsical; but my focus is on her fat art collection, known as “The Girls”. Three fat friends who are captured doing things that friends do. We never see their faces but they are instantly recognizable. I enjoy the camaraderie of these fat women who are living life to the fullest and on their own terms.
To me, The Girls are very evocative of life and friendships of fat women in Michigan (my people, my people). Lots of fatties in Michigan, but it’s not such a big deal (so’s to speak), you just keep on keeping on, just like The Girls.
The warmth and humor of Carlos Ferreyra’s paintings reflect the world he grew up in, in Santa Fe, Argentina.
Carlos Ferreyra has been creating art all of his life. … Carlos Ferreyra not only developed a unique painting technique, but also created a body of work that interprets the moods and events of an entire culture. His newest line of work is dedicated to “The important moments of the people without importance”. With his works of art, Ferreyra honors everyday life, the dignity of the common job and the humility of simple things. Here, he opens a window for us to see his memories, to glance at a moment frozen in time, which in many ways becomes a memory of our own past that we might have taken for granted. … Ferreyra is asked: How did you learn to paint? He answers: “Alone, on those endless afternoons in Santa Fe. At the dining room table with one of my father’s carpenter pencils, on the white paper that the bread used to come wrapped-up in every day…. Always with the still and amazed gaze of my mother, who was starting to realize that there would be a different path for her son. I had no other school than myself, no other tools than my imagination.”
His paintings are of people of all sizes and ages living and enjoying life. The people are, for the most part, happy and content; but even the unsmiling faces show people who know who they are. They are secure in their own identity and place in the world. There is a true sense of culture and community in Ferreyra’s paintings that I particularly enjoy.
I was surprised that Belgium artist Carll Cneut is an illustrator of children’s books. Most of his drawings seem like illustrations, but they are also kind of surreal. I can’t even say they are whimsical.
That’s not to say that I don’t like Cneut’s art. I do. After reading what Cneut had to say about his art in an interview, I think I may have a better idea of what I like about it:
It is something I always have found very important as I always believed a picture book should leave room for interpretation by the reader. A reader who should actively participate and be part of the book. I try to drag the reader into the book. … I also try to create the same demand to contribute through many other things, like often only showing the main characters in profile, but having their emotions shown through how they hold their bodies, so the reader enters into this character to imagine the facial expression. Or by spending time on the outfits of the characters, working through many layers of paint to give the clothes some life and history, so the reader should wonder why the character might wear these specific clothes, and why the clothes don’t look brand new, leaving space for the reader to imagine where this character comes from, how his life was before he ended up in this book etc… Or by adding little stories in the illustrations which have nothing to do with the main story. The funny thing is that children notice these extra little stories very quickly, whilst adults almost never notice them.
His drawings do indeed drag me in and make me wonder and make up stories about what I am looking at.
Since he is doing illustration, there are not a lot of examples of fat art; in fact, a lot of his drawings are of non-humans. But in his drawings of humans, there are almost always fat figures.
Fat Art – Carll Cneut
Carla Raadsveld was born in Rotterdam, where she studied art, receiving scholarships in both Italy and South Africa for further studies. She now lives in Ireland.
Her art is distinctive and recognizable. Many of her paintings feature large women with cats. Two things which I approve of heartily.
A gallery described my recent work as ” contentment with a smile.” I like that, it sounds a lot better than “big women with crazy cats.”
The act of painting is very important to me, as is the composition. The painting has a life of its own. I don’t use sketches, just a vague idea of what the result might look like. That idea can change totally during the painting. It’s never a dull moment.
Cats are very present in my work, birds as well. My companion cats think that my every painting is great, that helps a lot of course.
While the women in her paintings are large and rounded, for the most part I would say they are more average sized than fat. However, from time to time, fat women are depicted.
She prepares her canvases by painting them black, and then painting over that. Time consuming, but I think it may be what gives her paintings a distinctive glow and warmth.
Fat Art – Carla Raadsveld
Animator and character developer, Brett Bean’s art strikes me as very geometrical. The shapes that constitute the subject are still clearly identifiable. Some of the art is very angular, but you have a tough time finding angles in a fat body.
For some reason, there are not a lot of examples of fat people in Bean’s art; but when you look at his sketches they are almost always included. Perhaps he simply has not been involved with projects with fat people so they mostly populate his sketches.
After asking to be a drummer to his mother at an early age, Brett Bean was handed a piece of paper and a pencil because it was, “much more quiet.” Unbeknownst to his mother and her simple gesture of headache reduction methodology, she spurred on a career of a full-fledged character design and visual development artist.
With a passion for travel, caffeine, volleyball, Tom Waits, and speaking in the a 3rd person vernacular, Brett currently free-lances, teaches, and lives with his wife Julie, a brilliant jewelry designer, in Pasadena, CA.
I enjoy the whimsy in Bean’s fat characters. They are not always happy, but they are always expressive and fun.
Fat Art – Brett Bean
It isn’t hard to figure out that artist Boris Kustodiev is from Russia, as his paintings clearly reflect his love for his homeland.
Even though his father died, and he was brought up by his impoverished mother, she was able to send her son for art lessons and his talent was quickly noted. He traveled throughout Europe and spent one year in Switzerland receiving treatment for tuberculosis of the spine.
Kustodiev also provided illustration to many books and later in life did scenic and costume design for a number of theatrical productions. He also drew caricatures for several newspapers, and a good deal of his art consists of portraits.
In 1916, he became paraplegic. “Now my whole world is my room”, he wrote. His ability to remain joyful and lively despite his paralysis amazed others. His colourful paintings and joyful genre pieces do not reveal his physical suffering, and on the contrary give the impression of a carefree and cheerful life.
We often think of Russia as being populated with large people, but Kustodiev’s work is mostly full of average size people. Still quite a bit of his art features fat and/or large subjects, with some subjects straddling the line between sturdy and fat.
A number of his paintings feature a woman called the “Merchant’s wife”, a lovely fat woman, clearly enjoying life.
Animator and character designer Bobby Pontillas’ styles vary quite a bit, so I can’t say his work is readily identifiable to me like some artists’ work is.
Most of his subjects are not fat, but he has a good eye for the fat body when he draws a fat character.
In my mind, appeal is totally subjective. There are no rules. Simply stated, it’s what you like looking at. Which could be for a myriad of different reasons. Talking to different artists, they all find different things appealing. It’s all over the map. The most you can do, working in this industry, is find out what the majority of your audience finds entertaining. It doesn’t have to be status-quo or predictable, people like to be pleasantly surprised. Things that are visually interesting, something that they can relate to, characters they can empathize with, are all examples of why audiences are attracted to certain things. We’re all artists and want to express ourselves, but as story tellers it’s important to keep the audience in mind.
While he has some fat female subjects, it seems most of his fat art is of men, something you don’t see a lot of in fat art.
I enjoy Pontillas’ art, not just because he is portraying fat people in a positive way, but because each character’s personality shines through and makes you want to know more.