It was a unique call for submissions: “Please send me your best nudes so I can draw them while I figure out my next move.” Seeking inspiration, Brooklyn-based artist Frances Waite posted this message on her Instagram, along with her phone number. Men and women responded enthusiastically, sending her intimate nude selfies of themselves sprawling on beds and squatting over mirrors. Choosing the images she found especially playful and unique—or rather, the nudes “where people [were] being themselves and posing in a way they [thought was] sexy and beautiful”—Waite began recreating them as illustrations, translating mischief and bodily expression into skillfully-drawn portraits (Source). The result is a fun, provoking, and ongoing series titled NUDES.
Waites’ project is one of empowerment, seeking self-expression beyond voyeurism, objectification, and the boundaries of heteronormativity. “I do think that I give people an opportunity to perform a part of themselves they might not display otherwise,” she explains in an interview with The Creators Project. “I’m some weird girl on the internet that wants to draw naked strangers, and I already have a repertoire of images that, I hope, make people feel comfortable doing whatever the hell they want.” (Source) She seeks to create a safe space where people can celebrate their bodies and sexual identities with agency and anonymity.