Illustrator and artist Fahren Feingold has designed for a number of prominent fashion houses, but she now creates dreamlike and sensual watercolors focused on the female form. In 2016, after turning her focus from design towards art, she was commissioned by Nick Knight to illustrate Paris fashion week for SHOW Studio. Inspired by both fashion and erotica, her paintings challenge the taboo surrounding the naked female body and pays homage to both the role of nudes in art history and female sexual empowerment.
How do you see the relationship between art and fashion based on your background in the fashion industry?
I have long admired Fashion Illustration, ever since I was a young girl reading magazines. For me, art and fashion have always inter-mingled and influenced each other. While I no longer design clothes today, I feel that my previous experience as a designer helps me to better understand and illustrate the nuances of fashion on forms.
What motivated your move from fashion illustrations to nudes and erotica-inspired paintings? Is there a distinction between the two or do they co-exist?
For me, they both co-exist. I look for ways to incorporate fashion in my nude paintings, and I don’t believe that erotic imagery needs to be completely nude. Just as one does not define the other, they can both co-exist without detracting from each other.
How do you see your work in relation to stereotypes and stigma around the naked female body?
There are so many people who still turn away from nude art, despite its relevance in our history (both artistic and societal). I really hope to show another point of view, a softer side, by painting in washed out watercolors as a sort of camouflage for the genre. Because truth be told, no one should be ashamed of the human figure in art.
Your paintings show women that are both sexual and powerful, a combination that is rarely depicted in popular culture. How do you find that balance?
I think that women should reclaim their sexuality and the right to their own bodies. We should determine what we want to show, how we should be treated, and what we want to do or not do in a relationship – instead of letting others tell us what is “normal”, “legal” or “age appropriate”. When we take ownership, and determine our own value, others will follow.
What importance does social media have for your work, inspiration and publicity?
Social media is the platform where I exhibit my work. It’s a constant online gallery that reaches the outside world, whether it’s designers, blogs, editors, students, other artists, art collectors or everyday art lovers. I’ve been able to connect with a community of artists around the world, and as a result I feel more engaged in my work and on my path as a painter. Building a network around the world is a new advantage that hasn’t been offered on the same scale before.
The Untitled Space gallery is presenting a solo exhibition of works by Fahren Feingold September 26 – October 8, 2017.