Big Girls in Art: Les Toil’s Pin-up Art

Last week we admired the vintage Hilda calendars. Today we honor the work of the contemporary (living!) artist who uploaded those images, Les Toil (yes, that is his name).

For 11 years Mr. Toil has been lovingly and joyously creating vivid pin-up images of large women, often using his own girlfriend as a model and muse. He also does paid-for-hire work: for $300-400, you can arrange for him to paint a pin-up of you. (Note that he will ONLY paint large women, which Francesca does not think is right but is at least a change in our favor from artists who refuse to paint the fat girl.)

Here are images he has created of real live women just like us (click on them to see photos of the models and read their bios):

The Danni!

The Danni!

Francesca's favorite, the Elizabeth!

Francesca's favorite, the Elizabeth!

The Kaybelline!

The Fierce Kaybelline!

The Amy!

The Amy!

Francesca wrote to Les asking for permission to post these images, and he wrote back:

Your blog is fantastic! It’s funny! It’s quirky! It’s informative! It’s positive! What would I object to?? Thanks much for the exposure and for considering my “skillz” worthy of Manolo. You rock like Elvis on speed.

Francesca thinks Les, too, is superfantastic.

h

19 Responses to “Big Girls in Art: Les Toil’s Pin-up Art”

  1. Mrs. Hendricks December 17, 2009 at 1:36 pm #

    OH . . . MY . . . GOD!!!! My only regret is that I can’t get one of these for Mr. Hendricks for Christmas nor his birthday (it was yesterday!) this year! What fabulous, fabulous dames. I hope everyone can save up and become a Les Toil pin-up. I know I am!

  2. theDiva December 17, 2009 at 5:02 pm #

    those are so great. I would love to have one done for my husband. Maybe next Christmas.

  3. lucylang December 17, 2009 at 6:31 pm #

    Just like “us”? Just like who? I know you can’t be entirely inclusive but that language is problematic for me.

  4. Francesca December 17, 2009 at 6:46 pm #

    Lucylang-

    Since this is a blog for the Plus-size women and is called Manolo for the Big Girl, Francesca was referring to the plus-size “us,” which is the also this artist’s clientele.

  5. SarahDances December 17, 2009 at 8:06 pm #

    I agree with Francesca, but also, lucylang, I also see the “us” here as non-model women, but rather just any woman who wants to have herself seen in such a beautiful light.

    Also, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the artist using only plus-sized women. Artists show subjects that inspire them. If he is not inspired by slender women, why should he paint them? I’d love to have such a portrait done, but at a size 4, I will simply have to sit back and enjoy these wonderful works of art from a distance!

  6. Amy December 17, 2009 at 10:21 pm #

    Hi! I’m “The Amy” from above, Les pointed me to this site. :) I was so happy when I discovered Les’ work and have been a HUGE fan from day one! He’s a great guy to work with. I even got to meet him in person and he’s just as wonderful in person> :)

    Love the write up!

    Amy

  7. All Women Stalker December 17, 2009 at 10:32 pm #

    All the artworks are so beautiful! You can really feel the life of the models. Looking at them makes me happy.

    -Denise

  8. lucylang December 17, 2009 at 11:10 pm #

    Actually guys, I was alluding to women of color. I couldn’t type more because … I was at work. Also, I didn’t want to be too specific since diversity comes in more than skin color. Basically, I am a big girl who is black and the women in those pictures don’t look just like me.

    There’s a tiny difference.

  9. Debs December 17, 2009 at 11:41 pm #

    I love these pictures! They’re clever and witty as well as sexy. I did go to the web site, and looked at several other pictures. Not wishing to presume, I did see at least two pictures which appeared to depict women of color.

  10. Jenny December 18, 2009 at 12:42 am #

    I love the pictures too – especially Dani’s! I just think it’s great that he’s taking people who don’t look like movie stars, and showing them they can be pinups too!

  11. Francesca December 18, 2009 at 5:13 am #

    Lucylang-

    As Judith Warner wrote today in her farewell column at NYTimes.com, about her relationship with those who comment on her columns:
    “It is not necessarily a bad thing to have become more aware of other people and more tuned into how they feel. ”

    When Francesca writes this blog, she is identifying primarily as a woman, and specifically as a fat woman. To her, the community of people who read this blog are doing so primarily because they, too, identify that way. Thanks for reminding Francesca that some readers identify more powerfully in some other way, even when they are reading a blog meant, in the words “just like us” to include ALL fat girls, regardless of any other identifying characteristics.

  12. theDiva December 18, 2009 at 8:10 am #

    “the women in those pictures don’t look just like me.”

    maybe not in the pictures included in the original post, but if you go to Les Toil’s website and look at Exhibit I, you will see that he does, in fact, paint women of color.

    Click on Amaya Lovely, Drea, Kris, Sionann, Tammy, Venus, and Zahara.

  13. Genevieve December 18, 2009 at 10:46 am #

    Wow, I hate to break up this interesting discussion about “Just like us,” but…guys! Check out Kaybelline’s shoes! They looked familiar to me the first time I read this post, I figured I had to have seen them here if anywhere and…

    http://manolobig.com/2009/08/31/the-daily-kick-our-first-i-think-poll/

  14. dcsurfergirl December 18, 2009 at 8:12 pm #

    Cool pics!

    Hey Lucylang–maybe you should get your portrait done! There are probably other women thinking the same as you. Go for it!

  15. lucylang December 18, 2009 at 11:45 pm #

    Francesca,

    I understood what you meant when I first read the post. I was not criticizing your intention. … But I think my quibble would take more effort from me to explain than I would like to exert. Plus, this is a “fashion, lifestyle and humor” site, not shapelyprose!, so the discussion might not be entirely appropriate. However, I’m thankful that you gave such a thoughtful response.

    the diva,

    I did see the women of color on his site. But Francesca was referring to the pictures she chose to include in her post not to his work as a whole. I was critiquing the post not the artist the post was based on.

    dcsurfergirl ,

    As the diva has pointed out, he already has several women of color on his site. Plus, I have several other ways I would like to spend $300.00.

  16. Francesca December 19, 2009 at 11:48 am #

    Lucylang-

    Francesca thinks she understands what you are getting at, and will keep it in mind in the future.

    xoxo!

    Francesca

  17. theDiva December 19, 2009 at 6:46 pm #

    Jaysus.

  18. lucylang December 21, 2009 at 12:46 am #

    Yay!

    Thank you Francesca. :)

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    […] Manolo for the Big Girl: Big Girls in Art – Les Toil’s Pinup Art Loving, joyous, and vivid pin-up images of large women, and only large women […]