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Interview with Jodee Rose
She's married, she's twenty-nine, she's a teacher, she's an artist and she's a fattie. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Jodee Rose was trained in oil, watercolour and pencil but has entered into the new age of digital art, "because there's no clean up". She uses a wonderful program called Painter Classic to create some of the most beautiful plus size women that she calls Fattie Art. Being plus size herself, this Central Florida native knows a lot about the lush contours of the "fattie" body. I'm sure you'll enjoy getting to know this funky artist as much as I did.
Moe: How long have you been an artist?
Jodee: Since I could hold a crayon. My earliest desire was to be a fashion designer. I attended art schools from junior high on through college where I graduated with a degree in Visual Arts (with a concentration in figure studies) from the University of Florida.
Moe: You do a mixture of body types and mediums but the zaftig image seems to be a constant. Why is that?
Jodee: I was told by someone wise that it is best to draw what you know. As a fattie all my life, my paintings have always followed my body size and shape. Plus, I learned long ago in art classes it is much more satisfying to draw elegant curving lines on a plump body than the angularity of thin bodies.
Moe: For some the word Fattie brings up the sounds of childhood voices singing "Fattie, fattie, two-by-four..." What does it represent for you?
Jodee: I was made fun of constantly growing up for being fat. I was really sensitive about it, as I think we all are. Even at 140 lbs, people would mock me or tell me how beautiful I would be if I just lost weight. In college, I began to learn about self acceptance. Once I really came to a state of full self love, I began painting my *fatties. It all started with my original Fattie, who is eating a Twinkie. She spawned from my dad's constant jokes throughout my high school years about my "love" for Twinkies. The whole series is really about taking the words that were used against me (and all of us who are blessed with an abundance of flesh) back. My fatties are not ashamed of eating food that tastes good. They aren't ashamed of their curves. They are sexy and fat.
Moe: Do you have a favourite fattie? Why is she your favourite?
Jodee: Geez, that is like asking me to pick my favorite child. Of course, I will always have a deep fondness for the original Fattie, as she was really a self healing agent for the taunts from my dad, but beyond her, I would say I like the pirate Fattie the most. The way I start a painting most times is with a general idea of a concept (although sometimes I just start drawing randomly) and I was just really impressed with how well she came out and just how gosh darned cute she was.
Moe: How long does it take you to complete a typical piece?
Jodee: You know, I often wonder this. [laugh] I get kinda lost when I start painting. I feel bad for my husband because once I start painting I am gone to the world until I am done. He has gone hungry many a times. On average, I guess it takes me a few hours to paint a pinup to my satisfaction. I have a hard time starting a piece and coming back to it, so I paint and paint and paint till it is done. When I have references (like painting a portrait) it takes me about an hour on average, but when I am painting from my mind, it can take countless hours but it feels like minutes to me.
Moe: Where do you find your inspiration for each piece?
Jodee: Well, I belong to a lot of online forums where beautiful women share their photos and I get a lot of inspiration from them. I often draw inspiration from low self esteem, interestingly enough. I hope by painting someone who thinks their body is less than desirable, they can see from a second hand source how beautiful they really are. Beyond that, a lot of my art earlier in my career was drawn as presents for other people so I tried to bring their interests into my pieces. Pinup goddess Bettie Page is also a great inspiration for me.
Moe: Can you describe the process you go through when creating a piece from start to finish?
Jodee: Most of the time, I just open my painting program and start drawing lines. If I am lucky, and in a particularly good mood, the lines form into something fantastic. I do however have countless sketches I have begun and abandoned. In many cases, I have a pose in mind and a general theme I want to go with and I start with a rough sketch using a pencil tool. I then switch to digital oils once it is fleshed out enough to make something suitable. I tend to paint shadows in first and then do highlights. I enjoy painting faces the most so I spend a lot of my time zooming in to make the faces as attractive and fleshed out as I have the patience for. Before I am done, I usually call my husband in to assess what I have done and ask for input. He claims to have no artistic talent at all but he is a great critic and is wonderful at spotting "mistakes" and suggesting corrections.
Moe: Do you work from live models?
Jodee: When I was first learning to draw the human body, I did work from live models. It is one of my favorite things to do. Sadly, at the moment I live in a tiny cramped apartment so I don't really have the room to work from models. I hope, in the future, I will have the room and the means to work from live models again. There is really nothing like it. For most of my works now, I work from my mind and use myself in the mirror (and Google searches sometimes) as an occasional reference if I get to a rough patch in a painting.
Moe: What have you had to overcome as an artist?
Jodee: I have only had a few negative situations in regards to my art. I was once fired from a job (teaching) because my boss came across my website and said I was a pornographer. She said I was unfit to work with children as a result. It wasn't a great gig really, so while devastated, I was somewhat relieved to be released. It has always been my policy though, when working my dayjob, that I be careful not to let my students know my first name because I am aware my website is not suitable for all audiences. I actually changed my domain from my full name to fattieart.com as a result.
Moe: What do you hope people see when they look at your fatties?
Jodee: I hope, when people look at my fatties they see sexy empowered women. I would hate to have anyone think I was making fun of the subjects. My greatest desire is that viewers will see a bit of themselves in my paintings and it will lead them to a state of acceptance and love of their body as it is now.
To see more of Jodee's art or to commission a portrait of your own please visit her official Fattie website or to see a variety of other art visit her Deviant Art site.
Content copyright © 2013 by M. E. Wood. All rights reserved.
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