January 30 marked my debut as a visual artist, at the opening of the Fat in Public art show put on by the Fat Girl Food Squad
. My partner is an incredible artist and together we like to spend a lot of our time being creative, always with multiple projects on the go. It wasn't until the announcement of this event that I really felt a desire to show my stuff, almost immediately sitting down to sketch and work out ideas. The plan was to create a small installation that responded to the common notion that fat bodies are "gross" and should be covered in flattering clothes and the constant messages that plus-size women have to wear clothing cut to make the body seem taller, slimmer. Originally I was going to construct a dress made completely out of chain and have it pinned to the wall. I wasn't totally set on that idea, as I had envisioned something a little more 3-D and a 4 am brainstorming sesh with Ron ended with me shouting "A-HA! Clear vinyl!" louder than my neighbours would have liked (probably).
My first sketches for the piece I ended up calling "Sorry, Not Sorry".
The first attempt at the underwear, I had never worked with clear vinyl before and it was quite the challenge. I am being too nice by putting it that way, it was a nightmare! In order to achieve the 3-Dness I added steel wire "boning" so the garments could be molded into the desired shape and stay that way.
Putting the pattern pieces together for the bustier.
This was the night before the opening, Ron is helping me put together the installation while 2186 Dundas
Gallery owner Andrew Williamson takes pictures. (Photo courtesy of show co-curator Megan Stuhlberg's instagram @meganstulberg
Carefully joining all of the pieces with chain (Photo courtesy of 2186 Dundas' instagram @2186dundas)
Finally the outfit was assembled and ready to be hung!
I was so honoured that "Sorry, Not Sorry" was hung front and center in the gallery window for all to see. The opening was a great success for the Fat Girl Food Squad and everyone involved, getting crazy press from the CBC and Mashable (check out the awesome article!)
Ron submitted beautiful new paintings, the set was titled "Marriage Barrage" - I wish we could keep them all! More of his work here
So much gratitude for all of my lovely friends to came out on the chilliest, snowiest night for the show.
And a goofy shot from opening night. Thanks so much to the Fat Girl Food Squad for including my piece and putting on such an important show for the body positivity movement. It really opened a new dialogue in Toronto and it was so great to see all types of bodies at the show, responding to the art work about fat identity and visibility.