Walter is doing her part to bring representation to the world through her artwork
A body-positive artist and self-described “advocate for the liberation of fat bodies” is creating amazing artwork by reimagining Disney princesses and other popular characters with actual realistic body types — and she’s inspiring thousands of girls in the process.
Crystal Walter runs Neoqlassical Art and she tells Scary Mommy her inspiration for her artwork comes from her younger self. “When I was a child, I was fat, and I despised my own body,” she says. “I remember at age 12 or 13 having a conversation in a clothing store with my mother where I told her, ‘I’m not even human-shaped.’ Knowing that I’m only one of a gazillion others who have had similar nasty thoughts is heartbreaking and devastating, and a big part of the problem is a lack of representation in popular media.”
Feeling represented in films, magazines, and other forms is critical for women — especially little girls. Raising girls to feel worthy regardless of any perceived flaws isn’t easy in a society that glamorizes size zero women on runways and in movies. As more body positive role models speak out, it reminds all of us that our bodies should be celebrated. Seeing something as iconic as Disney princesses drawn to represent all bodies is refreshing — and long overdue.
Walter says drawing Disney characters and other pop culture characters with different body shapes has been “therapeutic” for her, especially amid a pandemic.
“Creating art has been extremely helpful during this first half of the year, just keeping a sense of normalcy while everything else was falling apart. The world has changed so much, both in general, and personally since March,” she says. “My father passed away in early March, and in the last real conversation we had, he mentioned how proud he was of the work I’ve been doing. And when I draw these days, it still feels like everything is the way it was… and provides a few hours of peace at a time.”
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Walter’s art has also helped others: People have told her that it’s completely changed their self image. “It’s especially encouraging when I hear about people using my art in school presentations on body image, or hear that parents who follow me show the pictures to their children.”
One such image that’s received a ton of praise is the one of all the Disney princesses together. Walter said she drew them all digitally, “and the brilliance of that is that it only took a few hours to stitch them all together in one image.” However, it took her about two years to draw enough of them to make the whole image feel complete. “I know it’s still missing a few characters who deserve to be there such as Eilonwy from The Black Cauldron or Kida from Atlantis: The Lost Empire,” she says.
So, what’s next for Walter? The new bride says fashion has been another lifelong passion of hers and her “ideal next move” would involve either her own line or another’s be more “size and ability inclusive.”
“Everyone deserves clothes that fit properly and make them look and feel phenomenal, and not enough companies have yet put effort into making this possible,” she says.
Walter prints her images on T-shirts, stickers, and home decor, so check out the options on her website and help bring her amazing artwork into the world.