Nudes are more than Naked Bodies; Clothes are more than Outer Skins!

A question that I’ve been asked before and will be asked again – why is it that you don’t paint clothes on your figures?

Before you read further, please see a collage of a few paintings of mine (put together by Delhi Events) here.

First, a confession. I don’t think clothes are unimportant. I spent two years at NIFT, Delhi – and that I think is sufficient proof that I understand the importance of clothes and accessories. I believe, clothes lubricate our societal existence. Clothes, in their different forms, are essential at every level of Maslow’s Hierarchy – and they facilitate our passing through the levels.

Among other things, clothes:

  • enable us to extend our personalities without changing our bodies,
  • cover up our physical inadequacies helping us up our self-esteem,
  • align our self-concept (self-image) with the image that people see,
  • become symbols of our station in life.

Thus, they help us look like the perfect little cog in the societal wheel.

And yet, I prefer to paint the flawed human heart and mind, personified as beautiful, stylized, elongated nudes. The elongation isn’t necessary, unless I’m driven to elongate the bodies as the tension of my thoughts runs through my arm into my wrist and stretches them…so that my figures feel what I do at the moment of drawing them.

I don’t care much about full-frontal nudity, because it doesn’t help me convey what I want, which is the tensions in the human form. Next time, when you feel something – good or evil, love or anger, joy or sorrow…pay attention to the muscles in your body. You will feel them relaxing or tensing…each time different muscles will relax or tense differently.

But more than this, I see through…I think most artists do. We look through the folds of the clothes and see the bodies of people. I see them cramping, tensing, releasing, pulsating – the clothes evaporate, leaving behind only the raw beauty of the human form turning and twisting around emotions both bright and dark. I see the body responding to the stimulus it receives from the environment, and that dynamic naked image with the forces of feelings within, stays with me. I sketch madly, I confess…and there’s little room for addition or modification when I paint…and this is why there are never any clothes – nor any eroticism in my works.

Nudes are more than naked bodies - a partial from Pearls by Shafali R. Anand.

So that was stuff that doesn’t fit elsewhere.

Note: This, of course, doesn’t apply to my caricatures, portraits, and illustrations that I do for political and business magazines – as it’s evident, the movers and shakers of politics and business use clothes to achieve a lot more than we do.

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