All images courtesy of artist
If cave paintings were able to kaleidoscopically cartwheel through a contemporary femme lens, the results would probably end up looking like Louise Reimer’s illustrations. The Canadian artist—who says her work explores femininity, interdependence, performance, and solitude—draws a world that is pink, mystical and brashly feminist.
“I never said to myself ‘I’m going to make feminist art,’ but my work is about girls and women and bodies and freedom, which are all connected to feminism,” Reimer tells The Creators Project. “The world my figures exist in is a kind of female utopia of safety, free from the male gaze, which I think is a feminist paradise.”
Reimer's choice in shapes and depicitons of women going about their everyday lives are reminiscent of cave paintings from thousands years ago.
But instead of paintings where men hunt wild animals, Reimer’s work reveals a world where female best friends wear matching printed dresses, women lounge by themselves in surrealist, graphic landscapes, and Shelley Duvall is a paragon of beauty and talent.
Reimer began making stickers of Shelley Duvall as a gift for a friend. When she ended up with extras, she began selling them on her Etsy page. They quickly became a hit and gave Reimer a platform from which to extol “the gospel of Shelley.”
“She's this really talented, beautiful actor, who was in a lot of interesting films, but mostly gets remembered for being the wife in The Shining,” Reimer explains. “A lot of people seem to think that character is really her, when Stanley Kubrick was actually emotionally tormenting her to drive her to the edge of sanity and get those performances.”
Reimer cites film as one of her main inspirations—counting Andrea Arnold’s most recent American Honey as one—alongside vintage children's books, 60s design, and 70s fashion editorials.
Whether she’s printing wearable art or making drawings for fashion houses, clothing plays an important part in Reimer’s illustrated world.
“Fashion is all about fantasy and experimenting with characters for me,” Reimer says. “Putting together an outfit is like making a painting. You choose the colours, textures, and composition—except with clothes you can refer to eras or different characters.”