Ariel

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What would I give to live where you are
What would I pay to stay here beside you…

When I was 20, I moved to the US. I had expected my assimilation to be an easy one – English was my first language and every almost material thing I consumed was American. I had a great deal of difficulty adjusting, with people making fun of my last name, and the strange obsession at how “other” I was. I was angry, I resisted change, but eventually I adapted.

My interpretation of Ariel’s story has changed as I’ve grown. I now greatly admire her courage to leave the world she knows behind and to explore a new one, without resistance or anger, but with curiosity and wonder.

In the original fairy tale, the little mermaid has her tongue cut out, constantly feels as if she’s walking on sharp knives, and her toes are bleeding. I also imagined that the splitting of her tail would have resulted in a scar on her inner thigh. It is quite a testament to her strength that she endures this pain while arriving into a world she knows little about. She did this alone.

If I were given that choice, I would not be as brave.

Ariel is the fourth in my Disney Women series.

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Elsa

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I am one with the wind and sky.

Here’s Elsa, in full control of her powers, turning summer into winter.

I made some really minor changes to her costume, because I love slashed sleeves and I’m 92% sure my previous life was a Renaissance lady-in-waiting.

Elsa is the third female character in my Disney Women series. Hope you enjoy looking!

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Tinkerbell

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“Hullo, Tink,” cried the wondering boys.
Tink’s reply rang out: “Peter wants you to shoot the Wendy.”
It was not in their nature to question when Peter ordered. “Let us do what Peter wishes,” cried the simple boys…
– J.M Barrie, “Peter and Wendy”

While we were waiting for the World of Color to come on, I asked my fiance, as a joke, “If you were a Disney princess, who would you be?”

He thought for a very long time, and answered back with all seriousness: “Tinkerbell.”

I was slightly taken aback. “Why?”

The reasons were fourfold: 1. She is second in command to the Lost Boys, and can order them when Pan is away, 2. Has magical powers, 3. She can fly, 4. and can grant flight to others.

And it was then it hit me how incredibly powerful Tinkerbell was, but she was always depicted as the short skirted jealous little fairy. What bothers me is that I never really noticed this until my fiance pointed out why he liked her.

So here she is, commanding the Lost Boys, and the second piece in my Disney Women series.

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Merida

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Be as strong as the seas are stormy
And proud as an eagle’s scream

In September, I went to Disneyland for a vacation. There’s a glut of marketing materials of Disney princesses in very delicate poses. You know, one leg is slightly bent inwards, the head is tilted, shiny skirts everywhere. They’re all removed from the context of their stories which gave them their personalities. To me they are reduced to bodies parading pretty dresses.

Doing a Disney princess series was always on my mind, but I didn’t want bodies to be at the forefront of the illustration. I didn’t want to do pinup or reimagined clothing choices in X century. Those are fun and great to look at, but it wasn’t something that I felt passionate about.

I guess this series is my small attempt to capture the strength of these women in the films. I loved this particular lyric from Brave and always envisioned Merida unfettered by the storm, ready to face the perils that come her way. This is the first of my Disney Women series, and I hope you enjoy it!

Buy a print here.