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Celebrating Plus-Size Bodies In Art: Our Favorite Body Positive Artists

Posted by on November 11, 2013

Since the Venus of Willendorf, plus-size bodies have been depicted and celebrated in art – and they should be, because they are absolutely beautiful! I recently came across the blog “Fat People Art,” which serves as an aggregator of mostly modern (and some historical) drawings and paintings of plus-size bodies. Many of the figures are female, but there are depictions of men as well.

Submission on "Fat People Art"

This image was submitted to “Fat People Art” by a contributing blogger. Credit: Kayezilla

In the mission statement of the blog, the administrators explain their reasoning behind the project: “The art world, especially today, is flooded with images of thin people. Heck, mass media in general doesn’t have a lot of people over size 10. But it doesn’t mean fat people don’t exist, or that they’re not gorgeous people worthy of being immortalized in art. So we’re just a bunch of fat art enthusiasts, creating and promoting fat art.”

After browsing around on “Fat People Art” for a while, I also discovered the blog “Fat Art,” which certainly deserves a look through, since there are gorgeous images and wonderful artists to be found there, as well.

There are many wonderful artists currently working that create and distribute art that glorifies different body types, so in honor of their great work, I put together a list of a my favorite body positive artists.

1. Tara O’Brien

Tara O’Brien, 22, is a college student working towards a degree and eventual career in graphic design. Her favorite artists are Gustav Klimt and Mark Ryden, and their influences certainly show in her delicate lines and stunning use of color. O’Brien’s work is, quite simply, a joy to look at. Her beautiful ladies are idealized, yes, but in a very attainable way. As a viewer, you almost feel like with a little hairspray and magic you could embody these glamorous figures. According to the artist’s shop page, her work goes past just depicting figures: “My work explores people and other creatures of all shapes, sizes, colours, sexual orientations, and gender identities,” says O’Brien. “I attempt to promote body positivity and self love within everyone and everything.”

2. Natalie Perkins

Natalie Perkins

This is a watercolour and ink self portrait of Natalie. Credit: Natalie Perkins

Ms. Natalie Perkins, 32, draws on a lot of her own experiences when she’s making art, and so every piece that she shares has a distinctly personal and somewhat vulnerable feel to it. It’s really quite beautiful. According to her site, Perkins says that her blog is not purely about her art, but her life as well. “You’ll find honest commentary about my life and experiences, art and design, Australian culture, feminism, disability, fat activism, and my approach to personal style on this blog,” says Perkins. You can purchase some of her beautiful prints or some of her funky accessories at her shop, “Fancy Lady Industries.”

3. Rachele of “The Nearsighted Owl

The Nearsighted Owl

Rachele described her inspiration for this piece on her blog, “It took seeing other double chins on fat bodies and realizing that I saw beauty in theirs, so I could see it in my own.” Credit: The Nearsighted Owl

Rachele, 30, is a truly creative spirit. Her work is mainly web-based, but her blog highlights her many, many varied interests. She is a self-described thrifter, photo-taker, artist, owl collector, cat lady, and coffee-lover from Oregon. According to her blog, Rachele is focused on spreading love and body positivity. “I post about fatshion, feminism, and lessons about loving your fat body, living a fierce life, and feeling confident,” says Rachele. “Sometimes I draw and write good. I shoot from the hip and can swear like a sailor.”

Do you look to art for body positive inspiration? Who are your favorite artists? Tell me in the comments.

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