This painting was inspired by a lovely model in London who had labia plasty due to physical discomfort. While most of my paintings are done from images that I have photographed directly, I occasionally paint from images that models self-submit. In this case I was sent images of pre and post labia surgery. The ‘before’ images reminded me so much of a fig that I was compelled to paint a fresh fig in commemoration.
She wrote: “I love love love your paintings, especially the vulva ones!!! I’ve spent my life so insecure about having large labia and seeing realistic stuff like this depicted and celebrated honestly changes my confidence completely. If you ever need another model, I’d love to overcome my insecurities and brave it!”
And brave it she did! I am currently working on painting her post-surgery photos.
I would personally like to add that anyone having undergone labiaplasty for personal reasons should not be judged to be a ‘bad feminist’. While the body positive movement that has recently swept the nation is largely positive, it brings unintended consequences. People who alter their bodies in any way to more comfortably fit gender norms should not be shamed.