Posted February 28, 2013 by Cooper Point Journal in Arts & Entertainment


CASV coordinator Charlia Messinger’s painting graces our cover this week. We asked her about her art and her advocacy.

Why is the body so important in your images?

As a fat woman, I have a very complicated relationship with my body. Of course, I think that all people do, but for me art has always been a way to empower my curves. Lately I’ve been trying to express other body types, and have even tried drawing myself (it was a hoot drawing my muffin-top). It helps me feel good to create something beautiful.

What do you want viewers to take away from your art?

Whatever they like, really. I can’t make someone see things the way that I do, nor would I like to. (at least, in regards to my art). I suppose at least I would like them to have a pleasant feeling.

How do you see art’s role in addressing difficult issues?

It’s a vital way to address difficult issues. I think it is a lot more accessible then academia (at least, when it’s not in the Met), and that makes the ideas the artist is trying express something that can influence the minds of people of all classes/backgrounds.

How does a discussion of gender play a role in your art?

I mostly draw feminine figures, and I think part of what I’m looking to express is that it is feminist to be comfortable with your sexuality, and to be sexual. It’s interesting that my art largely consists of what could be assumed as heteronormative women, but what I like to express is the strength in all of the women I draw. They’re powerful. I also have been playing more with expressing gender fluidity, because I think that’s something that’s missing from my art, and it’s something that I find power in as well.

How does your artwork fit into your role advocate for the Coalition Against Sexual Violence?

It helps me make signs? I suppose it helps me come up with more creative ideas and options when facing a problem. I’ve also used some stuff to decorate our office space and make it more homey.

Do you hope to have a career as an artist?

Gosh, no. Right now I also am a painter for Evergreen’s theater department, but I don’t think that is going to be a career. Art is more for self-care, so that I can deal with my classwork and with the work I do at the Coalition Against Sexual Violence.

Who would you most want to see your art?

My dad, my grandpa, or my grandma. She was an artist (and I got my femme from her), my dad helped me become a feminist and both he and my grandpa encouraged me not to take shit. All of these things are reflected in my art. They’re all dead, so them seeing it isn’t likely.

What meaning do you hope to convey with this cover?

Let’s stop objectifying women/people as sexual things and recognize the strength that they have as people and within their sexuality. Also, the ability to survive and overcome.

By Issac Scott