Updated: May 11, 2021
After the release of our Sending Nudes anthology in January 2021, the Guardian published an article called Nude selfies: are they now art? It opens like this: "Have you ever sent a nude selfie? The question draws a thick red line between generations, throwing one side into a panic while the other just laughs."
We were (and still are!) over the moon. Word spread quickly and soon emails from around the world began landing in my inbox — a French magazine called Stylist, a Brazilian journalist for O Globo, a radio talkshow in Ireland. It seemed that more people than ever wanted to talk about this taboo topic, this not often discussed act that I have discovered isn't that uncommon at all.
That's when I first heard from a young British artist, Evie Jacobs. She's had this topic on her mind for years now, creating large scale oil paintings from nudes photos (sent to her by other women) since 2018. I asked Evie if she'd like to tell us more about her 'Send Nudes Project' and here's what she said:
Send Nudes. It’s a phrase that most young women in 2021 wouldn't even flinch at. Whether dismissed in contempt or taken on as a challenge of sensual creativity, sending nudes has made the taking and sharing of sexy self-portraiture a familiar and unremarkable activity of our generation. From online guides on ‘sending nude photos that won’t ruin your life’ to physical courses on ‘how to take sexy, sensual selfies’, this by-product of digital culture has really shaken up the way that young women are rendering themselves as erotic beings.
As a twenty-five-year-old female artist, I have been engaging with this topic for the last three or so years. I work primarily in painting and collage. A project I began in 2018 is called 'Send Nudes' — a collection of large scale figurative oil paintings based on nude selfies sent to me from women all around the world. The 200+ images I painted from were either taken as erotic material and sent on to someone else before me or, just as often, taken as a personally liberating and sensual act and then consensually sent on to me to use for the project.
My initial motivation for painting the ‘Send Nudes’ collection was to present a fully conscious and at the same time, fully sexual woman; a woman of not only feeling and instinct, but of intellect. I wrote a considerable amount during this time as my research lead into corners of art history, psychology, science and even pornography that I could have never expected. It became both a playful discovery of contemporary female sexuality in digital culture and a fierce, feminist middle finger to the patriarchal backdrop of the nude in art history.
What resounds in each and every avenue is the utter obsession with the female nude. I have realised that its intrigue will always be present, the nude will forever be in representation and whether it references pain, power or the penis… it will always command attention.
* * *
For more info about the Send Nudes Project visit: eviemae.co.uk/sendnudes
Evie Jacobs is a London based Fine Artist, working primarily within the mediums of painting and collage. A graduate of Newcastle University (2018), she has exhibited work in major London Art Fairs, group shows and currently practises in her studio on the Southbank.