Elli Maanpää

Animated Painter

cupcake body image elli maanpaa 2018 illustration

Sweet Curves

Digital Painting

Sweet curves come in all sizes. A week ago I sat by myself in a coffee shop in downtown of Turku. I was doodling ideas to my sketchbook and eavesdropping juicy coffee table conversations. I heard two teenagers – about 12-year-old girls – chatting in a table next to me. The whole time they were enjoying their beverages they talked about how tiny the other looked in a photograph taken a while ago. The adjective TINY was said with an utter admiration.

It wouldn’t have bothered me if they would have talked about how beautiful the other one looked. Beauty can be so much more versatile. But hearing them going on and on about the tininess felt such a sad use of their precious time. They are the next generation women to be. They have all the options of the world to became anything they want. Please don’t make “being tiny” your main goal.

I’ll tell you why I rant about this. Let’s go back in time twenty years. My big sister – who is seven years older than me – was my idol. She was great figure skater. I was 6-years-old when I saw her make a perfect camel spin on ice and I told my mom that I wanted to figure skate too.

Later my perfectionist sister got obsessed by her size. After a while she was able to make herself so tiny she almost disappeared. She got hospitalised and got help. But for the next ten-years-or-so she struggled with eating disorder and depression.

She is healthy and happy now. That’s amazing. But if I could I’d like to travel back in time to the moment when she first thought that she should be tinier to make it. I would try my best to make her see her inner charisma and creativity instead of her body. She took the heavy road but is now using her story to educate others as an expert by experience. She is strong and beautiful.

I haven’t talked about my sister’s illness in “public” before because I’ve always thought it’s her tale to tell. Only now I’m starting to acknowledge that of course her story is intertwined with mine too. I’ve been one of the closest spectators of her struggle. Her road has shaped my journey too and is probably one of the reasons I’ve became an artist.

I grin at every article about new diets and counting calories. There are plenty of smart-ass people becoming millionaires because people are obsessed by their size. I think the best way to a healthy life is to concentrate on everything else but weight. I don’t even own a scale.

Your body is your closest companion not your enemy. Enjoy food. Enjoy exercise. Enjoy art. Enjoy each other. Enjoy your unique sweet curves. Enjoy life.

sweet curves body image elli maanpaa 2018 illustration