Some things don't change with time. Modern pin-up artists are still trying to find the perfect pose, expression, line and shape. And when clothes, posing, lighting and expressions are dripping with sensuality, the demands of fans can become very specific. "I'm always asked, "How do you paint the hair, the skin?'" says French artist Serge Birault. His advice? "Take your time."
Serge is synonymous with a more fetishised Bettie Page inspired pin-up, but with a modern twist: latex and octopi. His often tattooed, squid fighting, latex clad pin-ups may be sexy sirens, but they are no twinkle-eyed tease.
English 3D artist, Andrew, turned to the genre while working his day job on children's TV shows. He is one of the many current 3D artists taking pin-up and adding different themes to it, as well as another dimension!
The artist says that pin-up is "an art form with many nuances." If you go to pin-up to see boobs, it can be a base visual thing, "but I find that with stylised pin-up artwork there are so many ways to put across the attraction: cute, sexy, dark, light, curvy, slender, playful, serious, friendly or dangerous," Andrew reveals.
"There are a great deal of approaches to consider, and finding the right combination to suit the right girl is part of the challenge."
"Pin-up is all about exaggerating features, and if you find one of those features to be unconventionally appealing – such as a slight belly, chunky hips or strong nose – then you don't airbrush it out. You celebrate it."
Rebeca cut her teeth painting strong, realistic fantasy female warriors before she discovered the magical world of pin-up. The saucy sculptures of Colin Christian, fellow 3D artist Andrew Hickinbottom and all the digital painters mentioned here gave her a glimpse into what pin-up was about: "Expression, emotion, imagination and especially good taste."
Discovering the world of fetish and BDSM in around 2007, she started her series of highly striking images, Twisted Dolls.
Her art is a combination of beauty and terror – comic doll women dressed with realistically textured clothing, intricate tattoos and vertiginous high heels; sexy models, fully clothed.
"I began to mix cartoon and realism, And I thought that making politically incorrect dolls in latex and impossible corsets look elegant was something new."
"Beauty is important in my work, but not only that," Rebeca says, "I'm interested in addressing unconventional issues in an elegant way. I think it's good to shake people's minds."
"There is love coming through these women," says French artist Maly Siri. And when you truly love something, you can dispense with tired notions of perfection.
Maly looks plucked from the past with her Bettie Page styled haircut (Bettie is also a huge inspiration for her work) and retrospective rockabilly attire.
Her love of vintage glamour, burlesque and rock 'n' roll is apparent through her traditional works - a modern day Zoë Mozert with an edge. Maly created the iconic illustrations for Vivienne Westwood's Naughty Alice perfume (and subsequent 'Alice' releases).
This illustrator has a love for big women, and has attracted fans who want him to turn their fantasy pin-up dreams into reality. Les has been rendering plus-sized pin-ups since the late 90s:
"What inspires me is the positive feedback I receive from the clients that hire me to turn them into pin-up queens. Many of the women who approach me lead a life that aren't glamorous, and these works of art enable them to vicariously live out a dream or fantasy.
"Seeing themselves in the form of an empowered space princess or a mythical goddess often instils a stronger sense of self-worth for those that may have felt marginalised by a size-obsessed society. Receiving that type of positive feedback is fulfilling. I think most artists would like to know someone is viewing their creations as something to be admired and valued beyond its surface aesthetics."
Words: Alice Pattillo
Alice Pattillo is a staff writer at Creative Bloq.
Like this? Read these!