We recently came across drawings of this artist on Instagram. The body types and the quality of the drawing were engaging. We approached the artist and discovered that the drawings are part of a project which spoke to us. We hope our readers find the interview and mini gallery that follows equally engaging.
CFL What artistic training do you have if any?
I am an undergraduate Studio Arts major at the University of Pittsburgh.
CFL – What media are you working with?
CFL – Is there a particular intention behind the choice of medium?
We live in a society that gives women very few opportunities for bodily autonomy, and when women do take control of their sexuality, they are shamed for it. Oftentimes, nude photos of women are leaked without their consent, which is the ultimate attack on a woman’s autonomy and reduces women to mere sexual objects. I want to give women the opportunity to reclaim autonomy and control of their bodies by asking them to voluntarily send nude photos to me and allow me to post drawings of them on social media. This act is a reclamation of women’s right to be the sole decision-maker when it comes to their bodies, sexuality, and lives. These drawings are meant to be beautiful, simple depiction of the body in its truest form. I aim to de-sexualize and normalize the female nude by posting non-sexual nude photos of strong, intelligent women who have voluntarily chosen to “leak” their own nudes.
CFL – What is the nudity project? How did it get started?
In May 2017, I decided that I wanted to practice drawing the human figure, and took nude photos of myself to draw from. I found the act of taking these photos very empowering, and experimenting with different positions, angles, and lightings helped me see my body in a new way. Taking nude photos of myself and drawing them helped me see my naked body as a beautiful, dynamic work of art that I truly appreciated and accepted, probably for the first time in my life. I decided that I wanted to give other women the opportunity to see their bodies in this way, and posted on social media asking women to participate by taking naked photos of themselves, sending them to me, allowing me to draw them, and post the drawings on social media along with a caption that they write describing their story and journey to body positivity. Eventually, I would like to open the project to men as well.
CFL – You describe it as an exercise in self love and body positivity, what do you hope to accomplish?
We live in a society that sets unrealistic and arbitrary beauty standards for women in an attempt to sexualize, denigrate, and commodify the female nude. This leads many of us to have a very poor self-esteem when we compare ourselves to these standards and feel ashamed when we fall short. I hope to help women break free from this toxic mindset and show that women’s naked bodies are not sexual objects, but rather works of art that deserve to be celebrated in all their beauty and diversity. I also hope to help women see their naked bodies as the most natural home for their thoughts, beliefs, dreams, and experiences, rather than mere sexual objects to be criticized. I hope that the women who participate feel that taking these photos and seeing their bodies depicted as a work of art helps them in their journey towards self-accptance and eventually self-love.
CFL – Each drawing includes a “body story” what is that about?
I want participation in this project to be very experiential. The process of taking the photos involves the awareness of actually being in your own skin and observing what that feels like to live in your own body. The body stories that are posted with the sketches are an important part of this experience by creating a space for self-reflection. I think it’s important to reflect on our relationship with our bodies and how our past socialization has shaped this and affected the way we see ourselves. Personally, self-reflection through writing has been crucial to realizing that the idea that I am somehow “not beautiful” has been planted in my head, making it something that I can also overcome, which is why I ask the participants to do some self-reflection on their body journey and what participation in this project means to them. I think it’s also empowering for many women to share their stories and show other women that they are not alone in their struggles. People who don’t directly participate by sending photos can still be involved by reading the body stories and learning from what women have to say.
CFL – Where do you find the subjects of your drawings?
The subjects are people who hear about the project, usually via social media, and reach out to me to express interest in participating.
CFL – Are you your own subject as well?
My body as the subject was the initial spark that created the idea of the Nudity Project, but since then I have been focused solely on the subjects who choose to participate.
The Nudity Project by Sarah Krause can be found on Facebook and Instagram (@takeback_thenude). Her personal art account on Instagram is @sarahkrause_art To show appreciation for the work is to follow the Facebook and Instagram accounts, like and share the photos, and spread the word to others who may be interested. Anyone who is interested in participating in the project can message the artist on Facebook or Instagram via the Nudity Project’s accounts.