Artist Series: Casey Fitzgerald
Embroider, Casey Fitzgerald- also known under the artist name 'Hyena Bones', takes pride in producing bold, nude imagery that piece together a statement of body positivity. Casey's new project, 'Body Love', focusses on the difficulties she faced growing up with body confidence issues and how social media gave her work a voice after growing up in "fairly conservative" New Hampshire, USA. Her work mainly features the 'image-conscious', vanity hub, Instagram; yet she uses her profile to challenge social taboos, including masturbation and body-shaming, by confronting the issue face-on with eye-catching artwork.
"My work gets a range of reactions, I know I am pushing boundaries, and I like to, so I am usually prepared for both good and bad reactions. I think in this modern age, sex and self-care should be normalised if not celebrated, especially the vagina and vaginal masturbation. Centuries of phallic art exists, but people still shy away from and shame vaginas, it's ridiculous".
Though Casey faces some criticism towards her bold approach to art, she continues to successfully sell her work online (shop link below) and reach out to many fans willing to share their body stories with her.
"When I scrapped my senior thesis to work on figure art, I felt it lacked the meaningfulness I was going for, searching the internet for nude references didn't provide me with enough "real" bodies, just nude models. So I made a public post on Facebook asking for nude photos from anyone interested in donating them. I didn't expect much but the response was overwhelming! I got hundreds of photos, and unexpectedly, many stories of body image struggles, even people saying that taking the photos for me helped them love their bodies in new ways. I didn't expect to have so many heartfelt conversations, and it really brought the project to a whole new level. Presenting these pieces are just as satisfying and cathartic as collecting the images. People see my art and say "that's beautiful, and it looks like me" and it really hits them deeply. That's the really unexpected bonus I've gotten from creating these pieces. I'm glad I can help people in that way".
"A big turning point, both personally and artistically, was when I learned to love myself. I struggled with body image issues growing up, and looking back from the "other side" I saw the major problem for me was the lack of body positivity and inclusivity in art in the media. After that point, I became really interested in creating characters of all shapes in sizes, characters, that if they were in cartoons when I was growing up, maybe I would have liked myself the way I was. So character design was where I started that exploration. Senior year of college I wrote multiple papers on figure art and Egon Schiele (my favourite artist), this really pushed me to take that plunge into narrative figure work. I couldn't really tell you why I chose embroidery for the majority of this work, even though I am a digital artist, I do always come back to more physical, process-based art forms".