The Agony of Intimacy by Chloe Cushman
I found Chole Cushman’s illustration particularly amazing the moment I saw it in the gallery. This illustration contains thorn flowers in a motion composition around the drawing of the female body made of black and grey scale. The illustrator used a medium of Gouache and Digital. I found this illustration interesting because I like connecting the female body with nature, so I personally enjoy visuals that describe a story with flowers, leaves, or water; along with a female body. It expresses poems or quotes through drawings that several people can relate to.
Before I researched what inspired Chloe to create this amazing illustration, what I found interesting was the use of motion and how she didn’t illustrate nature in a beautiful and pleasant way, instead, she demonstrated her concept in a painful way. She placed thorns around her body wrapping her arms and legs physically hurting her, except for her most intimate part. First, I thought that the concept of the illustration was self-worth and how women should intimately love themselves. After my research about this piece of art, I learned that the artist emphasizes her illustration The Agony of intimacy for her client Hazlitt.
Hazlitt was a woman that struggled with a chronic pelvic pain disorder known as Vulvodynia, which affects between eight and sixteen percent of women. The women who experience this disorder feel internal rug burns along with small blades splitting every woman’s most precious intimate part. Any internal vaginal pressure can trigger this pain, the slightest touch, period, even when they sit down. Hazlitt was afraid of sexual intercourse, it was the most traumatic experience for her. She didn’t know how to be intimate involve with her partner of 6 years, any type of affection in the relationship she would reject. She didn’t feel comfortable with her body, mostly with her most intimate part. Apart from all the different doctors she visited, her partner forced her to go to a clinical sexual health trial, where she found a treatment that changed her whole life.
After Chloe captured Hazlitt’s story she decided to illustrate her client’s pain and desire in this illustration by placing the woman body as the focal point. The artist illustrates the concept of physical pain with thorn around what it seems, Hazlitt’s body. After a rough journey of pain, the biggest, healthy and beautiful flower with leaves placed on her intimate part communicates how she’s finally free.