As a teenager, I hated seeing myself naked.
In changing rooms, I was forever conscious of the space I was taking up. I picked apart my appearance in my head in social situations. When I looked in the mirror, all I saw were flaws.
Though I’ve managed to overcome much of this negativity in recent years, I still feel a sense of unease when I’m standing, unclothed. I’m not entirely comfortable. When you’re naked, there is nowhere you can hide.
So, when I decided to order a personalised nude commission last month to hang in my room, I surprised myself.
Since moving into my house share in October, I’ve spent hours searching for the perfect picture to frame. Distractedly scrolling through Etsy has made me miss key moments in TV shows. I’ve added items to my basket too many times, but not found the strength to press confirm.
But during one aimless online search, I found what I wanted. Painted with dark curved lines and splashes of block colour, my fingers stopped on a portrait of a naked body.
One click and I was directed to the artist’s page. My screen flashed with spiralling depictions of arched backs and abstract shapes that made staged poses – each one different but beautiful. And the more I read about the artist, the more I liked.
The painter, Ruby, did nude paintings on commission and pledged not to edit the bodies she worked with in any way. Instead, she’d draw the physical form exactly how she saw it. ‘Don’t ask me to edit your body. You’re gorg,’ she wrote to anyone looking at her website. Body positivity and acceptance shone through each of her careful brush strokes – and I was sucked in.
Looking at the pictures felt natural and easy, but I didn’t know if seeing my own body in a painting would feel the same. The figures seemed fearless.
Original publication 11 June, 2021
Posted on NatCorn 16th June 2021
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