Nigel Rudkin was one of our shortlisted artists for our 2018/19 Refresh Art Award. We recently caught up with him to see what he had been up to since the finalists' exhibition.
Composure, watercolour, 770mm x 570mm, 05/11/19.
I asked the model, the lovely @fatrayofsunshine, why she wanted to pose for me. She told me had always hated het body, and always tried to change it. She had been longing for the day when she finally would let the "real" her come out. While waiting for that to happen she wasn't treating her body well, and she didn't let anyone else either. She didn't think that she deserved it, she was only temporary anyway. She’s not sure when the turning point came, but one day everything just clicked. She has one body, one life. Why should she spend it by constantly trying to make herself what she’s not? Why should she put her life on hold until she becomes who she is “supposed to" be? She is still in the beginning of her process of self love. Every night she touches my body softly, while thinking kind thoughts and apologises and thanks it for what it does for her.
Me, Myself, I, watercolour, 770mm x 570mm, 25/12/19.
Bubble is a glamorous and gorgeous bodypositive activist and burlesque performer, and I was very pleased when Bubble agreed to be painted nude, and as usual I asked her for her motivation - she described why she had taken that decision. “I was really interested in being painted and think representation of fat bodies in art and media is so important. It can help people see their own bodies as worthy and loveable. It also reminds society that fat people exist, and are actually people. This is part of why I create burlesque art and pose and take photos of my body whether clothed fully, scantily, implied nude, or art nudes. I'm inspired by other people doing the work of body and fat positivity. It's so important to do things that fill the world with love and kindness.”
Lunchtime bather, watercolour, 770mm x 570mm, 22/01/20.
This is a painting of @jigglechick87, based on a photo by @Sketchsesh recreating the pose of the rear figure bathing in The Luncheon on the Grass, (Déjeuner sur l’Herbe), 1862, by Edouard Manet. As usual, I asked the model why she poses nude and her reply was clear and to the point - “I do it because I’m good at it and not enough fat women embrace their bodies - it’s a radical act to be fat, nude and unashamed, and it’s my contribution to the fat acceptance movement.”
Distinctively Rachel, watercolour, 770mm x 570mm, 10/03/20, (commission piece)
This one stretched me more than a little as I don’t normally “do” tattoos but, Rachel, to her credit, was very persistent and insistent - and the result is - in my humble opinion - one of my best!! So thank you Rach for insisting! So when I asked Rachel why she wanted to be painted it was very clear why. She had had a relationship break-up, she felt very positive in her body, and she felt confident and sexy. She was reclaiming herself, her body and her very clear individuality - she said she wanted the painting to show she felt distinctively herself - she basically named the painting for me.