Legend has it that 19th century art critic John Ruskin saw his wife’s body hair for the first time on their wedding night and immediately fainted. Decades later, female body hair has been prevalent in art and subject to analysis and intrigue. For artist Amber Vittoria, portraying the nude female form unencumbered by the male gaze led to a collaboration with Gucci, who recently tapped 15 female artists to depict their interpretations of the latest Acqua Di Fiori fragrance. Vittoria illustrated women with bushy eyebrows, hair on their chins, freckles, and a variety of body types as part of a larger statement of women’s status in society and combatting traditional beauty ideals.
“Art is an integral element to the movement for women and achieving equality and respect within society,” Vittoria tells CR. “It’s a way to visually represent all of the issues that are going on that people may initially hesitate to open up about, but art leads to that avenue for discussion.”
Fresh off of a collaboration with shoe brand Tidal, who worked with Vittoria to design three of their sandals, the artist sat down with CR to talk more about the male gaze and how art can be used to reclaim the female form.
Tell me about the concept behind the sandals.
All three sandals ladder back to the idea of being “too hot in New York City.” When Tidal and I met, we thought this would be a really fun and wonderful idea. Every shoe speaks to an element of being too hot: one of them is too hot to shave, another is too hot to move from a patch of flowers and colorful grass in Central Park, and the last is too hot to change. For me in the summer, I’m like “This is the outfit that I’m wearing all day. It’s too gross out to keep changing outfits.” Hopefully women can relate to one, two, or all three of these designs.
What made you want to design sandals in the first place?
A goal for me this year was to create more product-based pieces. A lot of the work that I’ve done outside of paintings and drawings lived more in the digital world. I wanted something that people can hold, something that’s a bit more tactile. And I love shoes and especially sandals because they’re so easy to wear. Another thing I loved specifically about Tidal is that [the sandals] are made in New York, which is really lovely. I think the shoes really speak to the story of New York and New Yorkers.
How did your art background influence your focus on the female form?
During university, I would go to several art museums and galleries and see how many artists were male but the content of the majority of the work was women. I thought that it was an inaccurate representation of women. For me, I wanted to start making work that was of women by a woman artist so that’s how it all started.
What was important to you about depicting women with body hair?
Showing that women do have hair is a an example of the larger idea that most women fall outside the societal expectations set upon us. Body hair is really interesting because when I grew up, I would get picked on or made fun of if I missed part of shaving my legs or if I forgot to shave one day. And I feel like we have hair, women have hair, it is what it is. You should be able to shave or not shave whenever you want to or not want to. Just being able to widen the perception of how society sees women, and not force women to fit into this very narrow, specific stereotype.
How does the male gaze influence us as a society?
It’s not just art, it’s also in media, too. When you look at representations of women in photos and in illustrations, for me, it was tough to find myself in any of those women. I feel like there’s this ideal that’s set upon us. I really wanted to make work that women can see themselves in.
What causes are most important to you?
For me, definitely equal pay. I think that’s incredibly important, and having come from an advertising background, I find it tough to see that there are so many incredibly talented female creatives in the field, but the senior-level executives all tend to be male. There’s such an imbalance that hopefully my work will bring up an issue that can shift. Just the idea that women should be seen as equal across the board.
prev link: https://www.crfashionbook.com/culture/a22814189/amber-vittoria-female-form-tidal-sandals/
createdAt:Thu, 23 Aug 2018 19:05:49 +0000