Manicures, facial scrubs, cooling cucumber masks. Moisturizer, hair foam, body lotion. Winged eyeliner, dark lipstick, a little glitter. These are just some of the secret weapons femme individuals occasionally whip out for special days or nights. And while some women and men lament the seemingly ever-lengthening stretch of "sexy getting ready" time required of them, illustrator Sarah Tanat-Jones wants to shift the conversation.
She's examining and celebrating the time people spend alone with their own anatomies, combing and tweezing and contouring away at the canvas of their physiques. "I really enjoy getting ready to go out," Tanat-Jones told The Huffington Post. "For lots of women I think it provides some time in the day for themselves, to go through a reassuring routine, to be re-familiarized with the body."
For her series "Rituals," Tanat-Jones was inspired by the sultry and smoky light in 1930s and '40s advertisements, juxtaposing the sensual lines and minimalist flair of old school illustrations with the texture and color of contemporary printmaking.
"It's always a challenge to figure out the composition and where the emphasis should be placed," the artist explained. "The thickness of line, the general rhythm of the drawing, and color -- I always make about four versions of each image with different colors, and it can be hard to pick the right one."
Her vibrant images translate a lady's bathroom ritual into a tactile, sleek work of pop art, a mix of authentic self-expression and artificial pizazz that mirrors the magic of a made-up face. "The energy and sensuality of the line is really important to me," Tanat-Jones said. "I don't want my illustrations to slavishly follow trends. I don't want to adhere to the male gaze when drawing women. I want to retain the handmade and textural in my work, and stay true to my own ideals."
Getting dressed for a big night, though a ritual many women are intimately familiar with, often goes unseen outside of the bathroom mirror. Tanat-Jones' series provides a glimpse into the whole getting-glam process, showcasing the elements of fantasy and imagination in play whenever a woman imagines who she'll be for the night. And she does it all in a style both retro and modern, fully her own.
"Illustration is ultimately a commercial world but as an illustrator, the most important thing you have is your visual language, so I try to make sure I'm being honest."