Today we have the pleasure of speaking with digital artist, Sophie Fyfe, who recently launched an Instagram account to showcase her range of feminist and body positivity artwork. During our Q&A we discuss how the venture first got started, what Sophie is hoping to achieve, why raising awareness of breast cancer is an integral part of her work, and more!
Britain Uncovered: Hi Sophie! Back in March you launched your new Thymeless Art Studio account on Instagram, and you’ve been making a really wonderful range of digital art that helps to promote body positivity. How did this all come about, and what is it in particular about body art that appeals to you?
Sophie: Heya! I’m very new to this venture, but I see it as a positive journey of self discovery, and a way to uplift others. My new business mainly features art of the female form, purely because I think that women as a whole are underappreciated, both by ourselves and by society. The female body achieves incredible things and goes through many drastic changes throughout our lives, and I want to help others appreciate these changes instead of criticising and judging them.
I’m 22 now, and since rapidly gaining weight a few years ago I’ve really struggled with my confidence and self-image (I recently realised that I struggled before the weight gain too). I have since been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and am working on losing some weight to help my health. I have come to realise that I’ve always told the women around me that they are beautiful no matter their size, but now I need to hold myself to that same belief. This art helps me see the beauty in everyone, and if I can appreciate their beauty, I can begin to do the same for me too.
Britain Uncovered: It’s fantastic seeing so many body positivity artists emerging on the likes of Instagram and other platforms in recent times. Who are some of the artists that have influenced your work or that you admire, and how do you go about making art that is original and unique?
Sophie: Since starting this venture I have discovered an amazing community on Instagram of people (mainly women, but some awesome guys too) who capture the beauty of the female body and then share it with the world. I have really enjoyed being a part of that support network so far.
Some of the amazing Instagram artists that have inspired me include @hann.paint, @art_a_sophia, @izzylawrenceart, @printsbypaigeviolet, @olyviamariee.art, @ladylike.designs, @artjjacobs, @awaltersart and so many more!
With so many amazing artists focusing on the female form it can be difficult to come up with something original and unique. While the line art style is not original to me, the models’ poses are. I source all of the reference images myself, and draw my digital pieces directly from them. I purposefully find women of all shapes, colours and sizes to draw, as in my view it is the only way to inclusively reference all women and their diversity.
Britain Uncovered: What kind of impact has the body positivity movement had on you personally, and how do you hope that your art is able to fit into this movement and potentially help people feel better about themselves?
Sophie: I’m fiercely defensive of people insulting themselves, and am the friend that always tries to boost the confidence of those around them. My artwork is just another way of doing this. If compliments and support doesn’t help, then maybe them seeing themselves through the eyes of another can help. It may be a cliché, but I truly believe everyone is beautiful in their own way.
Britain Uncovered: There’s been a great deal of debate recently around the subject of body positivity versus body neutrality, and it’s a really interesting conversation that has merit on both sides of the equation! What’s your particular stance is on this, and does one viewpoint speak to you more highly than the other?
Sophie: I definitely seem to stand more on the side of the body positivity movement, but I understand that it isn’t realistic for everyone in the world to truly be at peace with their bodies. If acceptance is the closest some people can get to appreciating their body for what it is, then I fully support them in that view. As long as people know that it is okay to like, appreciate or love themselves then I am happy to support both movements, and continue to spread awareness.
Britain Uncovered: What sources do you use to help inspire your art, and do you also offer personalised commissioned pieces? Many of our interviewees have told us how gratifying it is to be able to present people with these powerful depictions of them!
Sophie: Unfortunately I haven’t actually drawn any commissioned pieces yet, but all of my drawings are of real women. I draw exactly what I see, but in the line art style. A good few of my pieces are of Instagram models that I felt inspired by, and the rest were sourced from the internet. Many of these women are on their own journeys of self love, and so I drew them to show my support.
Nearly all of these ladies have responded to their portraits with joy that someone wanted to capture their beauty in an art piece. Many have shared their portraits to their pages, and one lovely lady even made her portrait her Instagram profile picture! I feel really honoured to be able to draw so many lovely people, and hopefully boost their self-confidence.
Britain Uncovered: Reflecting back on your work, which of your pieces are you particularly proud of? We really like your 'All The Boobs' collage that depicts the female form in all shapes and sizes – including those who have sadly had to undergo breast removals. Is breast cancer awareness an important part of your work too?
Sophie: I’m proud of all my pieces, but I really like the ‘All The Boobs’ art print. I really wanted to create a design that I felt included a vast majority of women. In doing this I also included the population of women who sadly have to deal with a breast cancer diagnosis. So many women (and a population of men) have to go through breast cancer treatment, and this often includes lumpectomies and either single or double mastectomies.
Cancer is a topic close to my heart as it has greatly affected my family and friends, as we’ve lost people to many kinds of cancer. Breast cancer is no exception. I know women who have had cancer surgery, and the scars run deep for them, both physically and emotionally. Any support I can lend to those affected by this horrible form of cancer is something that is very important to me. I plan to make more all inclusive art pieces in the future.
Britain Uncovered: How do you see your art developing in the future, and do you have any interesting projects or ideas lined up?
Sophie: I am currently working on more art prints, pieces and collections, and even have a new ‘All The Butts’ print range coming soon too! I recently started a shop on NuMonday as a joint venture with my family, and I hope to earn enough money to start my own online shop in the future, specifically for my body portrait art.
- For more on Sophie's work, please follow her @thymelessartstudio page over on Instagram.