ARTWORK: THE BEAUTY OF A LEMON
The Beauty of a Lemon, 1
The Beauty of a Lemon, 2
The Beauty of a Lemon, 3
Jessi Eoin is an illustrator from the occupied lands of the Lenape people in what is called Brooklyn, New York. They make art to uplift and positively represent fat and disabled experiences, and you can find more of their work at jbeoin.com, @jbeoin on instagram, and @JessiEoinArt on twitter.
ARTIST STATEMENT/COVER LETTER
In my wildest dreams, we live in a world where no bodies are judged or abandoned for how they look or how they function. No bodies are pre-determined to be faulty, without value, or unwanted in society, and that’s what I try to convey in my work: bodies that are valuable regardless of function, size, mobility, appearance.
My work and I are like partners, and we are like one entity, too. We talk to one another as we talk to the viewer. We whisper ideas to one another, speaking of tender things, soft things, things that welcome you as you are and dream of betterment for all. “What do you want to see?” it asks me gently. “What would make you feel whole?” It reminds me time and again that we have the power within ourselves to create worlds where we are loved and embraced, and in turn, I share that with my audience: a place where they hopefully feel seen, where they are met with acceptance and celebration.
My ideas are fairly simple in their approach, but I pride myself on the details in their simplicity: tiny, thin lines snaking their way along pillowy bodies to form cellulite and scars; leafy tattoos winding across dimpled and acne-prone skin; fine lines forming wrinkles and crow’s feet that pool around warm, smiling eyes. These are the things that make my heart swell and feel happy.
While I explore these ideas in many ways, lately, I’ve been enchanted by the romance of a simple scene: a fat, disabled person surrounded by a stark background, engulfed in a sea of nature’s beauty, smiling serenely and glowing with contentment and peace. I use a combination of watercolor, pen, gouache, and colored pencils for these creations, atop smooth, hot press watercolor paper to really show off the vibrancy of the work.
For these three pieces titled, as a series, “The Beauty of a Lemon,” I have focused on the idea of disabled people being regarded as something akin to a lemon of a car. I wanted to lean into that term, turning it around and showing disabled people embracing our “lemon” selves, using the art to look back at the viewer with a type of serene defiance that can only come from fully accepting and loving ourselves as we are.