Saturday, September 6, 2014

Art School and Body Image

I am so, so happy that body positivity is one of today's hot topics. I love that so many windows have been opened for everyone to share and explore their thoughts on it together, especially in the blogging world. I was inspired to write this post as a link up over at Elizabeth's blog.

When I finished high school and my doctor told me I had stopped growing, I struggled to accept the fact that I was now, essentially, out of time. There was no more time for my legs to grow longer and leaner, these new unknown curves were here to stay, and I missed the deadline and was now stuck in the itty bitty titty committee for the rest of forever, probably.

The clock on physical growth had ticked its last tock and I was stuck with a body I wasn't comfortable with. It got to me in the way it easily does young women, how can it not when we are bombarded daily by corrupting media, not to mention those in our lives who are equally as influenced by the media? It's such a damaging cycle we've got ourselves stuck in, and we are ALL in it as members of society, no matter how much we change our personal views as an individual.

Fast forward a few years. I went through my first few years of art school, and man, did it ever change my perspective on body image on sooo, so many levels:

1. Curves are really damn beautiful,
and so incredibly wonderful to paint. So are 'awkward' shoulder blades that stick out beautifully, casting amazing shadows down your back. Not to mention severe bone structure on your face, and endearing freckles all over, and crazy lion-hair. Drawing and painting beautiful, real, imperfect life models both male and female, drastically changed my perspective on beauty and what it means to have a beautiful body.

2. Quirky is cool, to put it simply. This goes for both physical stuff and when it comes to personality. Pressuring yourself to fit into a mold that was not made for you will only end badly, so why stress? My most favourite art school friends are quirky as hell and they embrace it.

3. You have to suck it up and get over this idea of 'beauty'.
The amount of times I've slugged myself off to early painting class in my grungiest clothes, lookin' a hot mess, is not even an issue anymore. None of us look glamorous in painting class, and the one person who always does is just inviting Murphy's law into their life, and ends up with paint splotched all over themselves. You have to kind of just get over it and show up to do your work anyway.

4. By creating, and focusing all my energies into my art, I realized that this is what I exist for. NOT being beautiful.
Creating is what I genuinely WANT to invest my time and effort in. Beauty is fun and fabulous, yes, but if I'm having a bad hair day, or feeling bloated and awful some days, does that really matter in the grand scheme of things? No. Because even if my hair looks like I narrowly escaped a deadly explosion, I can paint something awesome. If I have a pimple smack dab in the center of my face, I can still come up with a kick ass creation. So no, this is not an invitation for perpetual bedhead and pimples galore, but if it happens? It's not going to ruin my day. I exist for so much more than just beauty, deal with it.

Don't get me wrong. All of these things I have to be reminded of daily, and I sometimes forget, which is a normal process I think. But it is the best feeling ever when I'm sitting in class, painting a live model in a room filled with other creative souls, and I have this moment of appreciation for all things beautiful, and all things not. This moment of appreciation for myself and for my little contributions to society, none of which involve being beautiful. This is how art school changed my perspective on body image, and what I believe is really important in life.


If you want to read more about body image and some rad gals with great opinions on the topic, check out the link up over at Delightfully Tacky!


  1. I love this post so much, I want everyone to read it! You make amazing points here and you made me feel good today, thank you :-*

  2. Such good stuff here Katia! It's so great you can fully throw yourself in to art like this. I have to continually remind myself every day too as it's easy to get sucked in. My energies go into music...and my kiddos and all in all, I wouldn't have it any other way.

    1. Thank you Marisa! Music and kiddos sound like such magical things to throw yourself into!