Warning: This post contains (illustrated) nudity and may not be suitable for work.
This is the message Brooklyn-based artist Frances Waite posted on Instagram approximately 10 weeks ago. "After I graduated I was really in a bad art hole, everything was so forced and weird and none of the work I was making felt good," she explained to The Huffington Post. "So I posted on Instagram 'send me your nudes?' thinking that at least this would give me something to do in the studio until something else started to work."
Before long, the nudes rolled in -- ladies spreading themselves before mirrors, pulling up T-shirts to expose a rogue breast; dudes lounging in bed with their junk out, posing coyly before the mirror to snap a selfie. The many nameless nudes served as personal treatise on sexuality, secret selves, performance and privacy. Not too surprisingly, Waite was inspired.
Ever since, Waite has been collecting nudes from friends and strangers and adapting them into hand-drawn erotic kaleidoscopes. The project has certainly picked up speed, as she's opened the request for nudes up to Tinder, as well, allowing virtual strangers to participate in the NSFW exchange.
The resulting images meld cartoonish illustration with realist technique, yielding sensual depictions that capture our ways of looking and feeling sexy, both real and pretend. "The style is always evolving," Waite explained. "I’m always riffing off of the work I’ve already done and adding new things. If I had to name visual artists that I find myself in conversation with I’d say Louise Bourgeois and Philip Guston. But most of my inspiration comes from language. I read and write a lot."
Through her work, Waite establishes relationships with floating bodies that are at once uncanny, gauzy and intimate. Although she rarely learns the names of her nudes, she closely studies their skin, curves and even the stray clues in their bedrooms. "It's a consensual mental interaction even though there is no physical connection," she explained to The Creators Project. "So yes -- I'm totally in their space. I love seeing their toothpaste splatters in the mirror and underwear in the background."
Although Waite is the primary artist at work in the project, her Internet call-out likely motivates some impromptu performances amongst her subjects, as well. As everyone who has ever morphed into another version of themselves in front of a camera or mirror already knows, certain spaces and scenarios, whether hyper-intimate or hyper-public, give way to new ways of acting, playing and posing. In this light, every nude is a micro-performance, an exploration of the body, its favorite postures and attitudes and facades.
In the artist's words: "With this series and every series, I’m exploring the landscape of intimate performance. In it’s most successful moments this work makes people feel comfortable being the special kind of sexual creature that they are."
See Waite's sexy beasts below:
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