Callie Nazzpuller

Nazzpuller - Foolish Heart
Nazzpuller - Brain
Callie’s paintings deal with the viscera of human sexuality as well as the literal, anatomically correct depictions of the inner organs: a penis entering a vagina, the human spine, a tongue on a clitoris or a nipple. The feelings of arousal, anxiety, pleasure, and pain are made visual with swirling shapes and vibrant colors. Her paintings turn the inside out, revealing the physically and psychologically internal parts of sex, much of which is hidden, feared, punished, bastardized, commodified, and controlled for the sake of commerce and power.
 
What leads you to focus on sex, especially the inner organs in your work?
Sex has always been something that’s interested me. Human sexuality is so fascinating and varied, and eventually, I’d like to be a certified sex educator. My work focuses on the internal aspects of sexuality, both the internal organs as well as the emotions that are catalyzed by sex. So much of our emotions are tied up in our internal organs, particularly our brains, hearts, and intestines. We feel our emotions in our guts, we experience heartbreak, our heart overflows, we become aroused by our own thoughts. Aside from that, human organs are also aesthetically interesting and sensual; curvy flowing organic shapes with folds and crevices. 
Nazzpuller - Upper Persuasion
How is this sensuality perceived and visualised in your work? 
I have a visual language consisting of color and pattern that I use in my work to convey different emotions. Purple and yellow is a common color combination that I use to convey things like sadness and joy, pleasure and pain. Because they are complementary colors, they create a strong contrast and tension in my work that helps communicate two opposing emotions at once. I also layer paint and use velveteen and glitter to create texture in my work, adding to the sensuality because my paintings look touchable.
 
What are the advantages and disadvantages for women in the art world? 
I don’t know that there are advantages to being a woman in the art world. Historically, women’s contributions in the art world have been trivialized, co-opted, or flat out ignored. However, being a woman artist has put me in touch with an amazing community of other femme identifying artists who support and uplift each other. Being a woman artist means that in many ways, I have no choice but to look outside of the existing “art world,” which is dominated by white patriarchy, to create avenues for myself and other femme artists.
Callie Nazpuler - Upper Persuasion

What feedback have you received as a female artist working around sexuality? Are the reactions to your work different from women and men?

For the most part the feedback I receive is positive, however I’ve definitely felt some pushback. As a woman artist working around sexuality, and in particular sexuality that doesn’t adhere to the male gaze, my work isn’t always taken seriously. I don’t have the easiest time getting into art shows and I’ve had to deal with censorship and all that fun stuff.

I generally don’t have any respect for men’s thoughts and opinions, so their reaction to my work doesn’t concern me, but I have noticed that because I’m a woman painting human sexuality, oftentimes using my own body as a subject, men tend to feel like that’s an open invitation to talk to me any kind of way or hit on me. I’ve certainly had positive reactions and support from men but I’ve also had a whole lot of bullshit.
Women tend to recognize what I’m trying to do with my art more frequently. I mean, I’ve had a few outliers who felt uncomfortable or whatever by my work, but even that I’m okay with because they probably needed to feel uncomfortable for a minute. More often than not I have women tell me that they really feel and can relate to my work, which is the biggest compliment ever. That really is what I’m trying to do with my art: make people feel and be affirmed in what they’re feeling. So, when people do feel it and then tell me they feel it and then I feel what they feel and I’m affirmed and we’re both reflecting each other? That’s sex, isn’t it?
Nazzpuller - Internal Seppuku
Callie Nazzpuller

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