Challenging the male gaze: Grace Fenlason's graphic illustrations focus in on women who ignore your standards

I am sick of the male gaze. In the last couple of months, I visited many large museums and galleries including the Met, the Neue Gallerie, the MOMA, the Louvre, the Tate Modern, the Musee D’Orsay and the Pompidou. To be crass, they are all filled to the brim with naked women painted by men. I could really go the rest of my life without seeing another sculpture of a busty grecian woman or a painting of an upper class women with a sly innuendo-ridden smile.

Instead I liked the images of Mary Cassette looking at women in their details. She painted nervous fidgeting, looks of annoyance, furrowed brows. I loved Frida Kahlo’s paintings of herself featuring her killer unibrow and her heart. I like how women see themselves and see other women.

With this series, I was inspired by women I find conventionally and unconventionally beautiful as well as women that inspired me for both positive and negative reasons. Women like Winona Ryder, Rihanna and Solange were the pop culture influencers of my childhood and continue to do so in my adulthood.

Also, a lot of people ask why I only draw the eyebrows. The answer is two-fold. Eyebrows are having a moment right now and I love celebrating that. They simultaneously are completely useless and change the whole structure of our faces. They have so much power, I love it. The second reason is that sometimes I don’t want to draw eyes.

I, in essence, create my own Paint By Numbers and then delight in coloring it. I don’t think much of my own technique because it isn’t especially unique or intricate but I do like to use bright vibrant color. I admire many artists that can use the subtly of shadows but I can also appreciate the flat pop my illustrations create.