Linda is an award-winning artist from Sweden whose digital paintings have been featured both in EXPOSE', CGNetworks and many other art forums. Interviewing Linda was interesting as we got a female's opinion on the subject matter.
CGN: What is it about the female form that attracts artists?
Bergkvist: The female body has all the natural, gentle forms that you can find in nature. All the hills, valleys, and soft, smooth planes. There are very few sharp edges, few harsh lines, few unflattering bumps and angles. In itself, the female body is artistic - it's natural for artists to want to depict something like that.
CGN: Why do you, as an artist, prefer to depict females in your work?
Bergkvist: Women and men both have beauty in every touch of light to skin and angles, but they're beautiful in very different ways. I choose to paint women when I look for a certain 'look' in my work, and when I instead paint a picture of a man, it's something else I'm angling for. A lot of my paintings are of androgens. Creatures that are somewhere in between and reflect all that's beautiful in both men and women.
CGN: Do you feel that CG imagery of voluptuous women is degrading to the gender? From your experience, how have females reacted to your artwork?
Bergkvist: I don't think so, no. Not if presented in the right way. It all depends on the approach: if you present the female body as nothing but flesh, with empty eyes and no conscious thought, then, yes, I find it degrading. A pin-up, for example, can be done in many different ways and personally, I find myself tiring rapidly of the dumb, dull-eyed look of things referenced from porn magazines (or that have the look as if they were). The female body can be depicted with both respect and sensuality, and if this is done rightly, there is nothing at all that is degrading about it. Nakedness and beauty is not something we should have to be ashamed of.
Artists have painted beautiful women for many, many years and for the most part, I don't think that the purpose behind the paintings was in any way to put women down. Treating your subject matter as nothing but a sex object is, however, not the right way to go about creating an interesting and respectful image.
So in the end, that entirely depends on the image. I am admittedly a little tired of both men and women in skimpy chain-mail outfits fighting big monsters (with the men so oiled up it's a miracle everything doesn't just slide right off, and the women so heavy-chested I'm surprised they can even stand up straight). I believe the image of both men and women is often more than a bit sexist.
I have yet to receive a complaint from anyone on how I paint women. Girls tend to like my work because I treat men and women alike in the same way. I try to pick out both beauty and strength in everyone, and to add a touch of darkness and light.
CGN: When you go about creating your imagery focused on the female form, what inspires you, and what are you trying to evoke or express?
Bergkvist: I don't paint women in order to paint women. I paint characters and stories, and if the character happens to be a woman, I will try to do her justice with every touch of colour and light. It's not a matter of trying to create something that people will drool over - I will not display skin unnecessarily unless the character calls for it. I try to view my images as part of stories, and as a storyteller, I will show what is needed.
The inspiration is people all around me. My two best female friends are two very unique women that have always inspired me since I first got to know them many years ago.
CGN: Where do you get references for your females?
Bergkvist: Heh, I actually base most of my current work on pictures I've taken of my friends. Prior to that, it was models I found on the internet. I'm sorry to report that I've never searched for references among the more scantily clad and brazen models - it just wouldn't have fit my work very well.
Linda Bergkvist Links
Interview with Enayla