We recently had the pleasure of speaking with Plymouth-based artist, Bex Taylor, about her series of abstract nudes that are highlighting how tremendous the female body is! During our interview, we discuss how her art is helping people, why she's raising awareness of the CoppaFeel charity, how taking nude selfies can help your confidence, and lots more!
Britain Uncovered: Hi Bex! It’s been great looking through your portfolio of body positivity artwork, and there’s so much for us to talk about! To get things started, can we ask what prompted you to start painting nudes, along with some of the initial aspirations for the project when you first started?
Bex: Thank you so much! I started painting nudes when I was in sixth form – our teacher arranged weekly life drawing classes for us, which I loved. We had a wicked model called Suzanne who was vibrant and confident – she made the whole experience so fun. From then on I always enjoyed painting bodies, particularly the female form.
Britain Uncovered: Based on the models you’ve painted so far, do you feel that your art is having a positive impact on people and helping them to feel more body confident? What has the reaction been like from those you’ve painted?
Bex: I hope so. I know a lot of people start off feeling very hesitant, which is understandable – sending nude pictures can be incredibly intimidating, especially when you’re sending them to someone you’ve never met before. However, everyone who has sent me a picture has said how empowering it made them feel.
One lady said she started to notice the bits she loved about her body, over the things she hated. To hear that is amazing. We are unfortunately in a world where we’re constantly told we’re not good enough or that our bodies need changing, so we end up feeling so bad about ourselves that we end up investing in their bullshit product.
If I can make someone feel just a little bit more confident about their body through art, then I’d be a happy lady.
Britain Uncovered: Attitudes towards bodies of all shapes and sizes are definitely improving for the better, and art is definitely a medium that can help with this change in mindset. With this in mind, how important is it for you to paint people of all different body shapes, and do you feel that your art can be a force for good in helping people to embrace all body types?
Bex: It’s incredibly important. I actively encourage people of all shapes and sizes to send me nudes. I love to see different bodies – it’s inspiring. As an artist, to always paint the same body shape again and again would be very boring.
Art can bring a lot of joy, particularly during these challenging times. If you are having a bad day, simply looking up at a piece of art that you love or feel inspired/connected to can really change your mindset. Having a commissioned piece of your own body can feel empowering.
I hope my art can be a force of good. All I want to do is create pieces that make people feel happy.
Britain Uncovered: You’ve done lots of excellent work to raise awareness for CoppaFeel, the breast cancer awareness charity, including several original paintings that are encouraging people to check themselves. What has the reaction been like to these pieces, and how does it feel to create these paintings compared to your other works?
Bex: It’s been great! As a woman, checking your boobs is something that’s important, but often something that is forgotten about. I saw a post on Instagram that day and thought, oh god, I haven’t checked my boobs in months. I then did a check and painted a fun piece to remind people to do the same.
CoppaFeel is a fantastic organisation that does great work and has lots of tools for people who feel confused or who have no idea how to check their own boobs.
Britain Uncovered: To help combat new year’s resolutions and diet culture, you recently encouraged your followers to take a snap of themselves naked – with a guarantee that they’ll feel better about their bodies afterwards. How important is it that we embrace ourselves naked, and how has this attitude helped you personally over the years?
Bex: January can honestly be an exhausting time of year. This is probably the first time where I haven’t thought about going on a diet or giving up alcohol.
I think the pandemic has highlighted how important it is to just be nicer to ourselves. I’ve had so many thoughts like, ‘I’ll be able to get a boyfriend if I just lose xx pounds’ or ‘I’ll be happier if I’m slimmer’, but it’s all rubbish. I know I’ll be happier if I get some sunshine, eat a nice meal or go on a walk.
Being happy in my own skin is something I’ve been working on for the last 27 years and it’s so hard! I used to feel so ugly naked and then I thought the only person thinking that is me, so I just started to remove the barriers – painting certainly helped with that, because when I first started I had no one else to paint but myself! That’s why I encouraged my followers to have a go. If they don’t like it, no worries, but if they do, they might end up having a little more confidence than they did before they took a snap – plus their partner will probably dig it.
Britain Uncovered: How has your own body positivity journey evolved since embarking on this project, and what's been the biggest thing you've learned during the course of this venture?
Bex: It’s a work in progress. I’m just trying to move more and practice being kinder to myself and my body. I’ve set goals like spending more time outside and improving my yoga, over things like working out six times a week or banning chocolate from my diet (things I know aren’t achievable for me or will make me happy).
I’ve learnt that being happy isn’t dependant on the size of clothing you wear.
Britain Uncovered: Your range of artwork is increasingly diverse, and in addition to paintings, you’ve also made customised jugs, Christmas cards and even iPhone cases that prominently feature your amazing art! How important is it to think outside the box like this, and what other creative ideas do you have up your sleeve?
Bex: I like to experiment with different materials and mediums. I’d love to do more pottery, but I am only just starting out, so still trying to find my groove!
I’d like to work on more abstract seascapes – I’m obsessed with surfers! I’m also moving closer to the beach in a few months, so hopefully I’ll find inspiration there.
The phone cases were fun and I’d love to create more. That was mainly an experiment for me because I ruin so many, so always need new ones!
Britain Uncovered: Finally, if anyone reading would be interested in modelling and being painted, what's the best way they get involved, and could you explain a little bit about the process?
Bex: Please DM me or shoot me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m happy to chat through the process on the phone or via text. It’s very informal and your pictures are kept safe and can be deleted at any point.
I am always looking for people to send me inspiration so if you fancy giving it a go, drop me a message. It’s fun, I promise ;)