Singing The Body Imperfect: The Art of Sarah-Jane Szikora

Damiens Dress

It’s often said that great art can come from great hardship, something that British artist Sarah-Jane Szikora might know a lot about. Having had major eye surgery at age 4 and struggling with an eating disorder from her teens to her early thirties, Szikora knows the meaning of pain and suffering, which she mines with often humorous effect in the canvasses of her intriguing oil paintings. Like the similarly whimsical and humorous work of German surrealist Michael Sowa, each painting offers intricate detail and a quirkiness that makes her work instantly recognizable. Szikora’s art, however, bears a message borne from painful  life experience.

Mad Hatters

She has since conquered this debilitating condition, but its legacy is plainly visible through her art: the distorted bodies, tiny heads, a deep fascination with food and our relationship with it. Outrageously exaggerated figures and animals, snack foods and gingerbread men form the main subjects in her artwork. Her human characters — people who don’t fall under society’s most desired category — seem happy and comfortable with themselves. In this way, her art becomes a sort of study in the psychology of human behavior and a statement about the importance society puts on body image. Commenting on her ‘fat ladies,’ she says, “There is an obsession in our society about appearance: everyone is on a diet or opting for cosmetic improvements. Why is it we dislike ourselves so much?”

Finding the silver lining (and the humor) in life’s difficulties, it’s the intriguing art of Sarah-Jane Szikora.

About Stephen Kelly Creative

Hi, I'm Stephen Kelly, a writer, editor, photographer and graphic designer living in beautiful San Francisco, CA, USA. Amongst the things I love are writing, photography, movies, music, fitness, travel, Batman, all things Australian, food and fun, all of which I hope to reflect in this here blog. Welcome aboard ... now let's get busy!
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24 Responses to Singing The Body Imperfect: The Art of Sarah-Jane Szikora

  1. fgassette says:

    I was very entertained by these photos. My grin grew wider on each photo. Thank you for putting a smile on my face and joy in my heart while viewing your post.


  2. Angeline M says:

    These are fabulous!!!! My two faves are the one skiing down the ice cream, and the Russian nesting dolls 🙂

  3. Colline says:

    These are interesting and say quite a bit about our society.

  4. Pat says:

    These are laugh-out-loud great. I especially like the “Cheeky Devil” “Don’t Let the Boss Catch You” and ‘Mind Boggles”. What great wit and talent.

  5. Viveka says:

    This I absolutly adore … happy, colorful and fun art … this I WANT! Love big bodies and the small heads, that is the way we really should look at ourselves at time … instead of have a far too big head. There is some sad undertune to some of her art, but I this I really enjoy. “Cheeky Devil” is so brilliant … thanks for sharing!

  6. There is certainly something very obsessive about the constant recurrence of the overweight figures in this art. I can’t say I like it, but I think it’s possible to understand some of the pictures without really warming to them. One hopes she is happier as an achieving artist and an adult. She is certainly quite talented.

    • Hi Victoria … I can see the pain in her work, but I also greatly appreciate the humor she’s found in it. So I can understand the constant recurrence of the obese characters in her work. She’s dealing with her own personal nightmares though her art, and I hope it brings her peace of mind.

  7. Impybat says:

    These are sugary, sweetly, strangely awesome pieces! That Gingerbread Piped Piper, I die!

  8. Paula says:

    Oh, I love it, and I think the photos of her canvases should be featured in fashion magazines to teach modern girls a valuable lesson. A marvelous post, Stephen! You bring us so much in these posts 🙂

  9. Madhu says:

    Beneath all the satire and frivolous titles, Sarah’s art looks fantastic Stephen! ‘Misfit’ could be a photograph!! I love ‘Yellow Afternoon’ too, very much. Have missed your art series. Hope to catch up when I find some time 🙂

  10. The Hook says:

    Incredible shares, Stephen.
    Well done!

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