One can say the only way for artists’ to truly express the emotions and thoughts that run deep within them is, naturally, through the several mediums of art. This includes (but is not limited to) painting, drawing, photography, and the usage of digital platforms. For Tel-Aviv based artist, Sophia Weisstub, art is a means of channeling the thoughts and issues that are constantly on her mind- everything from sex and the female body to how social media affects human nature and emotions. However, Weisstub’s most recognizable pieces of art are those where she uses photos of her own body as a backdrop to her illustrations, as a voice for body positivity. We spoke with Weisstub about her inspirations behind her artwork and the message she wants to portray to her audience, especially in regards to somewhat sensitive topics on social media – this is what she had to say:
On incorporating her body into her illustrations and it’s inspiration
One may say it is a very egocentric process. I feel like it’s a way for me to express mutual and relatable human experiences. The world – both physical and occult – affects us all. It builds the conscious and the unconscious. I try to let these influences and experiences surface in my work, and to be true to them even if the content might be painful.
Incorporating my body into my artworks was a natural choice for me. Using my own body felt like the most primary and precise thing to do. Thus, I avoid objectification and issues like the morality of “using” others. I also do not look for the “perfect fit” as I do not find it relevant. The body in my work transforms from my own to a universal representation. It becomes the body of everyone and anyone; any woman, any person, and the entire human race.
On intertwining human anatomy with emotions through art
My familiarity with and grasp of topics such as sex positivity emanate from my thoughts about my own body expression and its significance. I do not see myself as the focus, but merely as a vehicle. Using my face and body as a canvas emphasizes the creative experience and helps me tune to the experience that I want to express.
Working with the body emphasizes our experiences as souls, and spirits contained within bodies (as receptacle). I see the human body as an allegory, exposing shapes and orders that aren’t necessarily of the human body itself, but rather belong to nature in its entirety. These shapes present in the body reverberate in nature. I cannot avoid wondering about the significance – and the greater meaning – of the repetitive shapes and patterns, such as the human ear or the conch shell.
We are naturally, constantly and unconsciously inspired by our body. Perceiving the heart and the brain as symbolic organs is ancient. These organs are deeply rooted within us as representatives of intellect, reason, emotion, etc. As a person interested in studying cognition – the mind (thinking and reasoning) and emotion – I very often tend to exploit the body organs as representations.
On social media and its affect on human nature
Social media platforms have greatly influenced the way we understand and present ourselves – the fact that anyone is able to brand themselves anyway they wish has already hugely impacted and altered socialization. It is very easy to forget that the entire story portrayed on social media is edited. And yet, many tend to spend more time in front of the screen than they do facing real people, flesh and blood. This affects our perception of ourselves and of the other. I find this problematic, distorted and deceiving.
If I had to pinpoint one message to convey through my art that incorporates social media platforms, I would say: reveal the nakedness of the king. Don’t forget things are not what they seem like online. The message is to try to live the real life, rather than fall into the traps of temptations which are usually not real – they are nothing but illusions, homemade or commercial.
On her mission to deliver recognition towards sex positivity through art
As an artist, I wish the world would allow everyone to express themselves freely, especially in regards to sex. Of course, I hope and believe this will enable individuals – and consequently the system – to relate to sex in a healthy and positive way – by not being afraid of sex and by avoiding any offensive or objectifying representation of it.
Sex in itself is a positive thing, and one can only regret that our culture portrays it negatively. For example, porno films humiliate women and depict something not necessarily desirable to all women.
The subject at large, if dealt with in a more human and equalitarian way, can hopefully pave the way for a more accurate approach for the sake of a young generation that is so influenced by what they see in society.