Could you please introduce yourself and share any hidden talents or something most people wouldn’t know about you?

I’m Fuzeillear and most people wouldn’t know that I always sit down in the shower. It doesn’t take any special hidden talent to do, give it a try and relax under that hot rain.

Where do you see yourself and your art headed in the next few years?

Hopefully painting with a baby strapped to me. I’d like to do more studio work towards a solo show.

What does body confidence mean to you? Is it something you’ve ever struggled with and why?

Everyone seems to feel a level of discomfort in their skin at one time or another. It would be amazing if we could all love the way that we’re made but that’s hard when society likes to tell us not to. I’ve definitely struggled with it as a naturally small person, always feeling like a young girl instead of a 37 year old woman. I’d always look at curvier women with envy, I’ll probably still feel like a girl when I’m in my 70s. I’d say it probably still affects me socially especially when I meet new people, on some level I feel I come across as young, immature and inexperienced even though the opposite is true. Although maybe the immature bit is more to do with me telling fart jokes than my size.

Can you please share a little about how you go into creating artwork and how you’d describe your style?

I like to paint local natural things, paying attention to those that we often overlook, weaving in messages where I can. I love shadows and depth and focus on the simplicity of black and white. 

Do you tend to create from personal experience or from observing the experiences of others?

I heard that whatever is most personal is most universal; I like to create from a place of honesty and personal experience, hoping to strike a chord, make a connection and discover more about what is deeply true to me.

What’s it like being a woman in the creative industry? Do you find that it has its challenges at times?

I do think perhaps as women we tend to be less confident when it comes to pricing our work and asking for what we’re truly worth. Men seem more comfortable negotiating higher prices and expressing their value, when I do that I feel “demanding” and “bossy” so I’m trying to overcome that and be confident in my value.

What’s your favourite part about your body and why?

My immune system because I rarely get sick. Health is such an easy thing to take for granted, I know people who have to battle so hard just to function. They’re warriors and I never want to take my health for granted. The way our bodies battle disease and heal themselves is incredible. 

What’s your idea of empowerment?

People who feel confident in who they are and what they can achieve. Who recognise their uniqueness and believe in themselves. 

What message do you have for those who are struggling with body confidence/self-love/weight or appearance issues? – What’s helped you in the past?

Find someone you love and share with them how you’re feeling. I can write here that you’re a unique, important person who has value not for what you look like but for who you are; but I know how much more valuable and powerful it is to hear that from someone who knows you and loves you. Please don’t struggle on your own, be brave, open up and share your pain because things brought into the light have far less power over you than things kept in the dark. Let other people’s love of you be an example to you of how to love yourself.

Praise You isn’t just about raising awareness for eating disorders and celebrating body positivity – it’s also shining the light on female support in the creative community, in saying that, what does inclusivity and its importance mean to you?

Women are amazing. I love being a part of a community with so many women who are kicking ass and taking names, expressing themselves and doing their thing. Women who are pushing their limits and stepping out and going large. I feel honoured to be a part of this encouraging sisterhood cheering each other on!

Do you have any mantras or words to live by?

When I fall short of my self imposed standards or something goes wrong I struggle to let it go. It helps to repeat what my parents say to me; Worse things happen at sea. It helps to give me perspective and be thankful. Gratitude is very powerful.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self if you could?

I’d like to say don’t worry so much about what people think but I know that I wouldn’t have listened. So I’d tell myself to buy a second tshirt at the 5ive concert because it’s going to be your favourite ever tshirt and 19 years later it’s going to have some holes in it and you’ll wish you had two.

What the biggest risk you’ve taken to date? What were the pressure points and was it worth it?

Getting married. I was unexpectedly terrified when we got engaged and for quite a while afterwards but every day since we got married I know it was the best decision I’ve ever made. Change can be terrifying but just because you’re scared doesn’t mean it’s the wrong move. 

What’s been one of your most memorable jobs?

Art-wise it would be an advertising campaign I worked on for BIC pens. I rendered photos using only words of a speech written over and over again in tiny writing. I am so proud of it but the massive drawings took weeks and was really mentally painful. I felt really proud of pushing through all that ditch digging to achieve something beautiful. 

How do you keep up your creative momentum? Where do you look to for the drive to create?

I struggle to keep momentum going but I find that venturing into a different medium helps me get moving. From lino-cut to sewing to LEGO, something new reminds me of the joy of creating. 

How has your work and practice developed over time?

I’ve become faster and more confident, and unfortunately I’m now familiar with my usual patterns of work… do days of research and struggle to come up with an idea then come up with something the night before and it turns out great. Which works but is pretty stressful. No matter how early I start researching it’s like my brain needs the pressure to come up with the winner. Dumb brain. 

What or who have been some of your main creative influences?

I feel like I’m a sponge sucking in inspiration from everywhere, especially this decade with the growth of Instagram. Looking further back I studied Elizabethan portraiture at school and still come back to that as an influence in my search for symbolism within my work. 

Whose work are you currently loving right now and why?

I love Georgia Hill (@georgiahillbth), what a champion. She creates in so many different spheres with striking outcomes and works harder than anyone I know. I admire her style, development and work ethic so much, what a boss. And a hilarious babe. I enjoy sending her GIFs. 

Also Carla Scotto (@carladrawz) is killing it illustrating the environmental and societal crises we are facing with humour, intelligence, style and (quite rightly) fury. Go girl.

As you’ve gotten older – how has your perception of your body and confidence changed?

It’s funny because I feel like as I get older I have more perspective about what is or isn’t important and yet I struggle with my own body confidence more now than when I was younger. I used to eat whatever I wanted and my metabolism smashed it. Now I’m 37 and in the last 6 months since getting married I’ve put on more “comfort weight” than ever in my life. I’m struggling to accept that and not feel bad about myself. So I guess I still have a lot to learn, I’m hoping reading everyone else’s blog entries for Praise You will kick my brain butt into shape and get me back on the self-love train!

Website: www.fuzeillear.com

Instagram: @fuzeillear

Email: hello@fuzeillear.com