There is an overflowing calmness in the gouache and pencil drawings of artist Anna Vekri, a.k.a., Naked Tendencies. Maybe it’s due to the simplicity of the scenes she depicts; her slender subjects lay on park benches, swim in pools, and sit and smoke cigarettes in living rooms. Perhaps it’s related to the facial expressions most of her figures share; what seems to be a perplexing fusion of disinterest, sadness, and preoccupation. It’s probably all of the above, but it also certainly relates to her figures’ comfort in being completely naked with one another.
The artist’s engagement with nudity throughout her works is more than just a passing fad or a momentary interest for her: “I’ve always been attracted to the concept of nudity because it demonstrates two of the most sacred features of humanity, that of birth and that of love,” Vekri tells The Creators Project.
Her thoughts on the possibilities of nudity, however, extend beyond a mainstream narrative: “Today, we are constantly overexposed to both nudity and sexual images, but a lot of the times I find that these images do not depict the purest virtues of being nude. Through my work I aim to show that sometimes there are alternative ways of seeing things although they may at first seem illogical. This is to say that my figures illustrate the beauty of returning to our most basic and fundamental form, the one of nudity. In this way, people meet new emotions and get a different experience.”
Strangely enough, Vekri’s nude figures aren’t overtly sensual or seductive, even in her works depicting coitus. This aspect only makes the drawings seem more natural and grounded in a familiar reality, though: sex often isn’t the overwhelmingly erotic experience that pop culture paints it out to be, and hanging out with a good friend or a romantic partner isn’t always a metaphorical walk in the park. Life often requires you to engage in activities even though your mind wanders elsewhere.
Depicting an earnest portrait of everyday life is precisely one of the goals Vekri has in making her drawings: “The way I see it, these figures are predominantly experiencing sincere moments. Whatever they might be doing or feeling, they are genuine in the way they are experiencing it.”
There's also an element of figure-on-viewer reflection that the artist hopes to achieve in her work. “The figures act, in a way, as a blank canvas. They expose the way the viewer perceives them,” Vekri adds. “The ambiguity that emerges from their facial expressions is a result of my desire to impose a different tone to the freedom of being naked. To become at moments disinterested, detached, and distant from the result of the world constitutes a very tangible reality of human nature and is a phenomenon that is particularly visible in today’s society.”
You can see more of Anna Vekri’s exquisite nude drawings here.