I don't follow the art scene as closely as I used to, and it's a shame because it's full of wonderful people doing amazing things. So for this interlude, I'd like to showcase a few artists whose projects flip the script on traditional tropes.
I'm a big proponent of media that deviates from the norm and contrasting common themes with the unexpected. The outcome is sometimes ridiculous–which I also love–, but it's also a great tool for introspection. The projects that I've picked out are feminism-oriented in that they challenge gender roles and binaries. If you're active on Tumblr, there's a good chance you've seen these before.
Fight Like A Girl Sweet Tooth Sticker Series by Sugarbones
Through sheer serendipity and aided perhaps by complex algorithms, I happened across Cheyenne Federiconi (a.k.a Sugarbones) while trawling through Tumblr. Her latest merch, a "girl power" sticker set, was trending with feminist and art blogs alike, and demanded a place on my new skate helmet.
These little beauties are the bomb! Fight Like A Girl are cute little stickers that blow the socks off the dainty feminine trope by juxtaposing traditionally "girly" themes with an aggressive message about gender and consent. The visual effect is delightfully jarring and incredibly cute. The seamless blending of cutesy imagery and abrasiveness is right up my alley as someone who is sometimes a little of both of those things.
The more I followed Federiconi's artwork, the more I fell in love. She beautifully "combines cute imagery, gore and eroticism," and describes her work as "provoking both attraction and unease." Aside from Fight Like A Girl, her pieces consist of vibrant pin-ups featuring anthropomorphized dessert, mythical creatures, and zombies. Her latest sticker set, Sweet Tooth, showcases her signature babes.
You can nab both of these sets and other goodies from her shop. Sets appear to be in limited print (the artist hand cuts each vinyl sticker by hand and personalizes each package that goes out) so grab them before they're gone!
Sharkpony and the Glitter Riders Vol. 1 by Sarah "Nelia" Elkins
I discovered Neila through a combination of Twitter and John Scalzi. After a short bout of hysterics over the existence of a shark who is also a rainbow pony, I impulse bought this comic and the rest is history.
Four manly space criminals get in touch with their "magical girl" side when they're transformed into Sharkpony and the Glitter Riders. The story follows these guys as they try to get a grasp on their new identities. Instead of storming the universe as ambassadors of hyper-masculinity, they're forced to perform feats of (anti-)heroism in the form of a woman. The result is Sailor Moon with a dudebro twist. Sharkpony steals the show, of course.
I love the concept because it's a role reversal of sorts as well as an examination of gender performance; it's refreshing to see the role of reluctant sexy hero(ine) relegated to a male character. The "kickass women" genre of entertainment is plagued by Fighting Fuck Toys, or ladies who are allowed to be unadulterated badasses so long as they're overly sexualized and scantily clad.SatGR also parodies several other tropes frequently associated with anime and manga, though the themes are universally common. (I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure the name was derived from Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders, which was an American cartoon in the 90s.)
Rude Foxes by Eglads
Rude Foxes are (in my mind) spiritually related to Fight Like A Girl. Thematically, they're similar: cute + brash exploration of femininity. They're just as blunt but not "violent" (which was an actual criticism of the latter apparently). I like that both focus on entitlement and preservation of self over social convention.
Being friendly to a fault is one of those ingrained qualities expected of females that I've railed against ever since I was a small child. I try to be as personable as possible (I'm from the South, after all), but it's unrealistic and downright dangerous to assume one should be accommodating no matter the situation. And anyway, every person gets to set their own boundaries, including who they choose to engage with and to what extent. So I guess my point is: you do you, rude foxes. You do you.
Have you seen any amazing art lately? Share it with me in the comments!