About the artist:
My name is Hilde Atalanta. I’m an illustrator and painter, currently living and working in Amsterdam.
I love making portraits and illustrations, and I like to experiment with styles. I mainly work with (colored) pencils, watercolor, acrylic and ink.
My work revolves around the search for identity and different forms of relationships and sexualities. In it, I like to play with gender; many of the – often androgynous – boys I paint are based on female models. In one of my recent projects called The Vulva Gallery I focus on body positivity and female empowerment.
About the artwork:
1. Portraits: Utopia I & II + MOUSTACHE + Boys Do Cry
“Is it a man, or a woman?” – this is a frequently asked question by many people when they see someone with an androgynous appearance. I think this is a very meaningless question, because what would the answer tell you? It doesn’t say if the person in question is friendly, if you can have a nice conversation with them, if someone has a good sense of humour, if they are intelligent, what music they like, what kind of food they like or if they are a good dancer. It’s an utterly unimportant question. But still, people want to know, they want to define: M/F?
There seems to be no room for androgyny in itself in our society. Ambiguity isn’t appreciated.
In my work, I welcome ambiguity. I think there’s so much beauty in everything unclear, undefined – exactly because it makes you question. In which way the viewer looks at the characters I paint, and what they see in it doesn’t say much about the work itself, but it says a lot about the viewers themselves. What do you feel when you look at my portraits? What do you see? Where does that come from? I think raising questions is much more interesting than giving answers.
2. The M/Magnetic series.
In this series, I searched for intimacy and softness in gay porn. By zooming in on the faces of the boys and at the same time censoring the penis in the image, I tried to create an everlasting moment of expectation, without becoming too graphic and explicit.
3. The Vulva Gallery.
The Vulva Gallery is a series of illustrations of all kinds of vulvas – celebrating the vulva in all it’s diversity all over the world. In the past decade there has been an enormous increase in labiaplasty amongst young girls. Labiaplasty is cosmetic surgery to alter the size of the labia minora. No woman should have to undergo this just because they want their vulva to look like what they see in porn (or like what they think other people expect them to look, or what they learn on the internet about what their vulva should look like). The only way to change the way (young) girls and women experience their bodies, is to educate them and show them that diversity is beautiful.
The reason for using the word ‘vulva’ instead of ‘vagina’, is that the vulva consists of the external part of the female genital organs: the mons pubis, the labia majora and labia minora, the clitoris and the clitoral hood, the bulb of vestibule, the vulval vestibule, urinary meatus, greater and lesser vestibular glands, the vaginal opening, the pudental cleft, sebaceous glands, the urogenital triangle (anterior part of the perineum), and pubic hair. The vagina is only the internal part of the female genitals.
We shouldn’t reduce the female genitals just to it’s birth canal, when there’s so much more to it than that! Love your vulva, because all vulvas are beautiful just the way they are.
Click on the images to see them in large and to leave a comment!
Hilde is interested in commissions, illustrating, exhibiting, featuring,
and many other types of collaborating.
To see more of her work go to http://www.hildeatalanta.com