Tagged: rather wonderful x



As a child I loved to collect small ceramic animals..the sort of thing I’d scream in horror at now with their suggestion of forgotten, dusty shelves in a down-trodden garage somewhere far away and remote.  Which is one reason I find Debra Broz’s Oddities so fascinating..


A rural girl, Debra found her love of all things small and sweet whilst growing up in  central Missouri.


Using restoration skills she combines various parts of vintage and commercially produced animals to create her own breed of beguiling art.


They’re fun, they’re witty…they say don’t take life too seriously..and yet look below the surface and there’s something else going on..


With their pastel colours and cutesy looks they deftly question the line between high bow and low brow..when is a piece the last thing to be sold at a jumble sale? And when is it on a pedestal in a feted Exhibition?


They gently flutter their long lashes and weave their magic, concentrating the power of sentiment…and suggest we are all prey to nostalgia..even when something is rather amiss..



In our modern world, the authentic and the virtual have grown almost indistinguishable just like the smooth, smiling lines of Debra’s creations.

The truth is, it takes verve to be so ‘every day’..but she has grabbed it with both hands and transformed kitsch into poignancy, with a little walk back into reality.

Maybe I need to start collecting again…

Laters, Kate x

A Modern Icon x


I have a new state-of-the-art heroine and her name is Dr. Victoria Bateman.  For her birthday she and her husband decided to commission a painting of her by the Artist Anthony Connolly.  In the nude.



What do you think when I tell you Victoria is also an Economics Fellow at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge?




In many ways it’s really such a simple thing – a naked body – but what she has done has sent blasts through so many mental walls.  It’s a beautifully observed and performed satire on perceptions, maximally liberated and impeccably crafted introducing a huge pink elephant to hang languorously in the air….that society does not believe a nude can be an intelligent, academic woman, comfortable in her own skin.


Victoria says: ‘When I first came up with the idea I thought it would be a conventional portrait but the more I thought about it, I realised that doesn’t really represent the truth about me.  The more I went through the artistic process, the more I began to think about women and their role and portrayal in society. At the age of 34 I am comfortable in my own body. Reaching a certain age and realising that life is not infinite, I wanted to capture a moment in time.  Initially this snapshot was going to be conventional.  But the more I thought about it, the more I could see the value in creating a work that was both ‘honest’ – that showed me comfortable in my own skin – and that, as in my academic work, was not afraid to break through the pre-existing barriers and to raise important questions.’




Unlike so many historic nudes there’s a different power of suggestion and behaviour in her portrait.  In the past many poses have been of women caught unawares, captured in an unwitting moment, an onlooker peeking round a door.  But here Victoria stares directly out giving the painting an extraordinary force.  She chose a natural, relaxed  pose, beyond the superficiality of a TV soap, which says more for female body confidence than any written word ever has.


My view is that we will never eradicate the overtly sexualised images of women – they will always be profitable to produce, as well I understand as an economist.  instead I feel that the best way of providing an antidote is to also make sure that we show women as they truly are – it is a confident, relaxed, natural and of a named woman who is not being objectified with fake additions and photoshopping.’

‘Some people might say I’m not better than a page 3 girl but the message behind it is I am not just a body. ( And conversely – I’d say – that she is not just an academic – she has a body)  ‘I wanted to show that each woman has a female figure that literally walks around with her every moment in her life – it’s not simply sexual.’


Victoria Bateman has weilded the power to defy industry moulds and underline herself as an individual.  I love her because too many people let who they are become secondary to what everyone else wants them to be and it’s then that we build up walls for ourselves and others.


Bravo Victoria! Brave, courageous and brilliant.

Laters, Kate x