Women from Los Ageles

Los Angeles is a hot bed of creativity and promise. But it can also feel isolated and unreceptive. For photographic duo Kendrick Brinson and David Walter Banks, their new project, LA Woman, was an opportunity to showcase this wealth of female talent whilst connecting women within their community.

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The ongoing portrait series profiles creative female Angelinos’ in their invariably beautiful L.A. homes. “I think someone’s home is a good representation of who they are,” Brinson tells TIME. “If it’s sloppy or if there’s beautiful art everywhere…it’s a way to visually show someone’s personality beyond how they dress or how they do their hair.”
Brinson and Banks’ offbeat style translates personality into beautiful imagery and with these shoots, no planning was needed. “We really reserve these as a time for total spontaneity,” says Banks. “We’re seeing [the space] for the first time so we are inspired simply by what we see.” The portraits are also an opportunity for the pair to experiment without the pressures of a client’s expectations. “We’ll see a little crystal hanging from the window that’s casting a rainbow across the room and try to shoot something that incorporates that,” Banks adds.

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The women’s trades are diverse; from comedy actors to painters to musicians and, as is common in LA, many have side projects. “What’s been really cool is that each person isn’t just a singer, each person isn’t just a ceramicist,” says Brinson. “They’re a ceramicist but also a vintage car hunter and a hand model.”

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Though the project wasn’t begun as a reaction to the women’s rights movements, the pair believes it very much speaks to the movement. “We do both consider ourselves feminists and were both raised by strong creative mothers,” says Brinson. She believes that women are “completely marginalized” in American society, particularly in Hollywood but also in creative fields more generally.

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“It’s not easy being a creative person who’s self-employed. It can be very lonely. I know exactly how it feels,” says Brinson. She hopes this project helps to give creative women more visibility, as well as offering those who are just starting out some inspiration.

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“These strong, wonderful women are doing it; they’re living their dreams,” she says.
LA Woman works by nomination meaning everyone featured is connected in some way. “It’s a special community that we’re accidentally building,” says Brinson. Conversely this has meant the pool is somewhat limited and the majority of women are fairly young and at the start of their career. But this is also intentional. “Though there are tons of amazing 55-and-up artists, we’re trying to keep it to the young female creative,” says Banks. “There’s a shared energy of excitement and hope for the future. For what they’re going to become, for who they want to be.”

Alexandra Genova / TIME MAGAZINE

What Art History Can Tell Us about Female Beauty Ideals

Imagine—as you probably do now and again—that you are God, laboring under the self-appointed task of creating an Eve who will be accounted beautiful at all times and places. History shows you will be disappointed in your effort. Rather than a stable set of features, physical beauty is an ever-morphing construct, a fickle collective dream that we fall into once in a while.

But as slippery as our fleshly aspirations may be, they tend nevertheless to have outlines. These have been most visible throughout history in the pictures drawn by those self-elected gods we call artists. History provides us a record, and from it one basic, inescapable, and ultimately unconscionable truth stands out: the ideals women are asked to embody, regardless of culture or continent, have been hammered out almost exclusively by men. This fact, more than any sort of evolutionary determinism, has meant that a fairly narrow range of attributes resurfaces across eras, returning every couple of decades or so like a new strain of the flu.

Physical ideals are changeable, manifestations of the cultures they come from, yet some aspects change more readily than others. Even when produced by those of their own gender, images of women have historically followed a pattern set down by males. Little about Artemisia Gentileschi’s Sleeping Venus (1625-1630), for example, suggests its female maker. In it, as in virtually all pictures of women, passivity is the norm, whether manifested as softness, slack musculature, or a deferential pose. Another abiding trait, the outline of the hourglass, reminds us that the Female is always a sort of clock, which we try to freeze at the moment of youth.

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Left: Aphrodite of Knidos, Ludovisi Collection. Photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen, via Wikimedia Commons. Right: Photo by @amaliaulman, via Instagram

Still, in recent years the forces shaping ideals of feminine physical beauty have shifted markedly. The most notable of them is that, as part of a more general democratization of image consumption and production, women themselves began redefining the ideals to which they aspire. This means that many more notions of beauty are now available. Consider, for instance, the ways that figure shaping has altered over the centuries. Some 150 years ago, women in Europe began wearing bustles beneath their dresses that greatly enlarged the profile of their buttocks. The bustle had replaced hoop stays, which had produced an inverted-goblet figure.

More recently, the notion of sculpting has been applied directly to the body. In the 1960s, it took the form of dieting, which produced the sort of extremely skinny figure we associate with such models as Twiggy. Her thinness connoted vitality, an escape from the matronhood idealized by earlier generations, as well as an innocent, insouciant sexuality that was not dissimilar to a Roman-era depiction of the Three Graces. Consumerism, of which diet fads are certainly a part, has significantly expanded the range of off-the-shelf options for bodily enhancement. In the 1980s and ’90s, women frequently turned to surgery—breast or buttocks augmentation, nose jobs—and other non-surgical interventions (Botox, tanning).

It bears noting that if art holds a mirror up to culture, it has with rare exception failed to reflect a manifestation of female beauty of the last decade, one imagined into being by women themselves: the high-performance, muscled athlete. Popular magazines like ESPN The Magazine’s “Body Issue” have made gestures in this direction, by putting women like Serena Williams on the cover. But, in large part, art seems not to have taken account of the fact that the athlete has become a figure of everyday life, not just a pro.

However, if the following tour tells us anything it is that resistance is futile: we as a society, be it global or national, will always concoct versions of perfection—and aspire to remake ourselves in their image.

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Left: Picture of the Nefertiti bust in Neues Museum, Berlin. Photo by Philip Pikart, via Wikimedia Commons; Center: Bikini girls mosaic, Villa del Casale, Piazza Armerina, Sicily, Italy. Photo by Yann Forget, via Wikimedia Commons; Right: Parvati. India, Tamil Nadu. Chola period, 11th century. Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, Asia Society, New York. Photo courtesy of Asia Society.

Egypt, New Kingdom, Dynasty XVIII, Queen Nefertiti, ca. 1350 B.C.

The kohl around Nefertiti’s eyes and her apparently rouged lips speak to a desire for enhancement and adornment that seems too much a part of being human to have a historical starting point. Trends in altering how we look through fashion and jewelry in all likelihood predates any culture-wide preference for a specific body type. The Egyptian example has proven especially influential in the West, particularly since the 1920s.

Praxiteles, Aphrodite of Knidos, ca. 350 B.C.E.

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Originally carved by the Greek sculptor Praxiteles around 350 B.C.E., the Aphrodite exists only in copies. Of which there were many, because this Aphrodite represented the embodiment of female beauty for Classical Greeks. For us, she is the original Western model, woman as goddess, to be adored and feared. Her soft, rounded flesh bespeaks the power of her sexuality and advertises her life-giving potential.

Bikini Girls, 4th century C.E.

Part of a mosaic found in the early 4th-century Villa Romana del Casale in Sicily, the “Bikini Girls,” as they are known, provide one of the few celebrations of the female figure performing athletic acts, other than dance, in the history of art. Thin without being wrought by exercise, their vivacious bodies would not be out of place in mid-20th century Italy or America. Which is to say, the present a “natural” ideal, formed by activity rather than training.

India, Tamil Nadu, Chola period (880-1279), Parvati, early 11th century

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Consort of Shiva, Parvati is typically endowed with wide hips, ample breasts, and full lips. But, though hers is a more overt sensuality than the Western Venus, it is also not leisurely; her physique is not padded. She is active, essentially a dancer, with condign grace and strength.

Lucas Cranach the Elder, Les Trois Grâces (The Three Graces), 1531

A theme from classical mythology, The Three Graces explicitly represented the ideal of feminine beauty. What that meant in the northern Renaissance was women of leisure—and little exercise—with thin, sinuous, and softly rounded physiques. Although these women bodied forth sensuousness, their figures, with relatively small breasts and depilated pubis, seem almost unsexed.

François Boucher, The Bath of Venus, 1751

The mythological trappings here are mostly a pretext. Formed by leisure—abundant food and non-strenuous recreation resulting in generous curves—the ideal rococo body is characterized by its colors. Blushing cheeks, red lips, and pearly skin at once indicate vitality and ornament the flesh, hinting at a playful sexuality.

William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Night (La Nuit), 1883

Far more than the avant-garde Impressionists, the salon-painter Bouguereau reflects the middle-class tastes of late 19th-century Europe. Woman here is allegorized as Night, a somewhat tamed temptress—her shorn pubic hair reflects prudishness rather than fashion, while her ample, hour-glass figure suggests fecundity as much as sexuality.

Robert Mapplethorpe, Lisa Lyon, 1981

When Mapplethorpe turned his lens on the winner of the first Women’s World Pro Bodybuilding Championship, in 1979, Lyon was considered wildly muscular for a woman. Today she wouldn’t stand out at your local gym. Yet, while she is presented as an exemplar of beauty, her musculature is a static enhancement, carved out like a statue, rather than something to be energetically employed.

David LaChapelle, Pamela Anderson: Miracle Tan, 2004

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As the title suggests, Anderson’s is not a sun-tan but rather a spray- or bed-tan—purchased, not pursued in the outdoors. Such technological enhancements promise nothing short of the miraculous: her pumped-up breasts, machine-toned arms, and airbrushed skin all aim, in LaChapelle’s lens, to show that nature is but a poor imitation of artifice.

Bob Martin, Serena, 2004

More than any other woman, the tennis player Serena Williams has challenged—and redefined—norms of the female physique, allowing bigger bodies and developed muscles to compete in the aesthetic arena with the ideal of skinniness. Equally important: Williams’s muscles tend to be portrayed as built by and for athletic acts, not body sculpting.

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Left: Bob Martin, Serena, 2004. Image courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum. Right: Heather Cassils, Becoming An Image Performance Still No. 4 (National Theater Studio, SPILL Festival, London), 2013, c-print 22 x 30 inches edition of 5 photo: Cassils with Manuel Vason. Courtesy the artist Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York.

Mickalene Thomas, A Little Taste Outside of Love, 2007

A contemporary version of the odalisque (which in art history has come to refer to almost any nude female reclining on her side but which, as in the title here, can also refer to a paramour). Sporting a “natural,” she recasts the artistic tradition’s most sophisticated sex object as a woman of African heritage. Thomas’s image exemplifies a recent embrace of a historically wider variety of female shapes—for instance, broad hips, a bigger booty, stronger thighs—as well as racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Heather Cassils, Becoming An Image Performance Still No. 4 (National Theater Studio, SPILL Festival, London), 2013

Cassils, one of the few contemporary artists to explore the aesthetic appeal of muscle, emphasizing its functional power. Here Cassils explicitly opposes a powerful body with raw clay: the artist performs, instead of posing. But, by questioning gender barriers as a trans artist, Cassils leaves stereotypes of female muscularity unchallenged.

Amalia Ulman, Instagram post (2014)

The mirror reflects not only social expectations for a young woman’s selfie—the thrust-out bottom, lingerie clinging to a thin, sporty figure—but also the power of her role playing. What has changed in the contemporary era is less her yoga-strung physique than the fact that she presents it for herself foremost and then allows the viewer access to her performance.

Daniel Kunitz / artsy.net

The illustrator Priyanka Paul creates artistic revolution against the patriarchal society

Priyanka Paul found her voice through illustration. Her illustrations express a teenage feminism and at the same time they represent the female population in a patriarchic society. 

Ονομάζεται Priyanka Paul και κατάγεται από την Βομβάη της Ινδίας. Είναι μόλις 18 χρονών και ήδη έχει αρχίσει να τρελαίνει το Instagram με τα μοναδικά illustrator που δημιουργεί.

Δηλώνει φεμινίστρια και θέλει μέσα από τα έργα της να εναντιωθεί στη εκμετάλλευση του γυναικείου φύλλου, πράγμα το οποίο είναι συμβαίνει αρκετά στη χώρα της μιας και η παιδεία που έχουν γύρω από το σεξ είναι μηδαμινή.

Body Bazaar 💱 Lips in vermillion Clothed in a blouse My chest an ornament Hair dressed with flowers And eyeshadow bright pink My hand moved through pages Of women With bodies on display Of legs dangling from bags and ceilings Anatomy of a gender Broken Sliced A museum of the living Torsos at an auction Obituaries of beauty Because what you had was not enough Workshops produced imagery For women to buy Bodies marked 'sale' in red My hands stopped flipping I had received my call The world was selling my body Bizzare When I sold it myself I heard Sighs of shame Marked under social taboo My existence marked in excrescent red My only condition to the men Who touch my body while slipping notes into the very folds of my skin -"Don't dissect my expanse Like popular media's scathing glance" #Poetry #Illustration #BodyBazaar #bodies #draw #women #prostitution #sexualisation #mainstreammedia #media #red #art #commercialization #feminism #woman #sex #sexwork #poem #lips #browngirl #desi #india Ps. Check out my story for other versions of the illustration. Can't decide which one to post siiiigh.

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Μέσα από το έργο της ” Goddessses” παρουσιάζει την Ιαπωνική θεότητα του ήλιου Amaterasu, ντυμένη με ντεκολτέ, γιατί η σημερινή γενιά δεν θεωρεί πως υπάρχει τίποτα το προκλητικό. Σε παλαιότερη συνέντευξη της δηλώνει πως είναι εμπνευσμένη από το ποίημα “Pantheon” του Harnidh Kaur.

At the age of 6, all the boys played cricket. I wanted to play, too. They'd give me their bat when it was my chance but they soon found it annoying. So once, at a nearby construction taking place, I found an iron rod and that was my new bat. I can't imagine how I used something as thin as a rod for a bat, but I did. Until one day, the rusted rod cut my hands and my dad saw. He then bought me a bat. My question: Why not buy me a bat when you already knew my friends played cricket. Why buy me a doll with a flat stomach, blue eyes and blonde hair? At 10, I joined football classes. My dad was a district level player. He'd go down to play with the neighbour's kids. Never me. When I asked him why? He'd wave it off as me not being good enough or him being tired. He used to play defence. I played defence, too. We just never played together or watched matches. Sometimes I think, does he want a son? Or would I be treated differently if I was a boy? At 12, I was at my dad's office and a client of his saw me and my sister and asked whether dad had a son? Dad said no. The client then sympathised and said try harder, you'll surely get a son. Dad said "My daughters are better than any sons." We live in a world where you have to compensate for the existence of two daughters with a son or justify the existence of two girls. At 15, I cut my hair into a mohawk and faced ridicule at my house and school. My parents refused to look at me and kids at school jeered at me. If you try to change the dynamics of everyday life or try to change society or gender roles even through something as menial as a hair style, you're gonna be punished. Long hair. Girls were supposed to have long hair. I don't like adhering to norms. At 16, I go swimming, where little girls, wear a swim suit and then a shirt under a swim suit and then lycra tights too. While boys jump in with bare minimum clothing. Some boys having boobs bigger than mine. Because obviously my body can't be exposed because it will either turn you on or offend you and as such, society deemed this to be a woman's problem. I hope we are seeing what's wrong here. I hope you're doing your little part in not enforcing gender roles.

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Στο μέλλον ευελπιστεί πως η τέχνη θα συμβάλλει ακόμη περισσότερο έσι ώστε να σπάσουν κάποια ταμπού και στερεότυπα στις σημερινές κοινωνίες, φέρνοντας παράλληλα και την παγκόσμια Ειρήνη.