From a young age, Summer de Guia was often the butt of ridicule. Bullies targeted her for her appearances, and the constant harassment eventually resulted in innumerable insecurities about her own body. Critical of her own looks even as she got older, she started projecting the flaws she saw onto others with snide remarks. Eventually, she realized the toxicity of this own behavior, and in wanting to shed this ugly side of her personality, she turned to painting.
小时候的 Summer de Guia 因为外貌经常被嘲笑和霸凌，这些经历最终导致她对自己的身体严重缺乏安全感。即使长大之后，她依然习惯性地对自己的外貌吹毛求疵，并开始用难听的言语将自己看到的外貌缺陷投射到他人身上。直至后来，她意识到这种行为的恶劣，为了摆脱自己性格中丑陋的一面，她转向了绘画。
Art became a form of therapy, a way for her to reassert authority over her insecurities. Creative expression taught her to respect, understand, and find beauty in bodies of all types, including her own. “My subjects ultimately represent myself,” she explains.
Guia only hit her strides as an artist in 2020. The lockdown in Manila meant she was stuck at home, where she dedicated herself to painting. It was during this time that she honed in on her current aesthetic, a style that she cites as being influenced by Takato Yamamoto and Kristen Liu-Wong. The idea of mixing acrylic and oil paint and achieving a cleaner finish is the direct result of their influence. As for the body-image theme that now defines her oeuvre, that only came about in early 2021, when an exhibition curator encouraged her to break out of her comfort zone. “I was scared that it wouldn’t be taken well,” Guia recalls. “But these were thematics that I wanted to do for the longest time.”
作为艺术家，Summer 的创作在 2020 年突飞猛进。自从马尼拉实施封锁措施后，她就一直困在家里，期间她全身心投入到绘画中，不断锤炼自己的风格。她表示，自己现在的创作风格主要受日本浮世绘大师山本高远（Takato Yamamoto）和 Kristen Liu-Wong 的影响——混合丙烯酸和油画颜料以呈现更简洁利落的画面便是这种影响的直接体现。至于她现在为人熟知的身体形象主题，那是在 2021 年初，一位展览策展人鼓励她突破自己的舒适区后，她才开始进行这方面的创作。“我害怕人们不喜欢这样的作品，但这其实是我一直以来很想创作的主题，” Summer 回忆道。
Observing Guia’s art, the body image and self-esteem issues that previously haunted her are immediately front and center. In Envy Shoots at Others and Wounds Itself, women of varying ethnicities and body types appear in frame, gazing at one another’s nude physiques. They appear unsure, as if suspicious of one another. The inclusion of yellow hyacinths serves a symbol of jealousy and is used to further emphasize the envy and mistrust she hoped to capture. “I painted this one to portray how all of us have our own insecurities and most of us are not content and happy with what was given to us,” she explains. “We always compare ourselves to others. We get envious of another, but the person we are envious of is also envious of another. It is a never-ending cycle. Envy attacks others but brings us pain instead.”
在 Summer 的作品中，最突出的莫过于之前一直困扰着她的身材和自尊问题。在《Envy Shoots at Others and Wounds Itself》（妒忌别人，害了自己），不同种族和身体的女性互相凝视着彼此赤裸的身体，她们面露不安，仿佛在相互猜疑。画中的黄色风信子象征着嫉妒，进一步强调出她想要表达的嫉妒和猜忌。她解释道：“我画这幅画是为了揭示我们所有人内心的不安，大多数人都很嫌弃自己天生的身体，总觉得不满，总是把自己与其他人进行比较。嫉妒别人，但其实我们所嫉妒的人同时也会嫉妒别人，就像一个永无止境的循环。嫉妒让我们产生攻击的念头，只会招来更多痛苦。”
In No One Wants To See Life Fading Away, three women with disproportionate bodies appear in frame, baring it all. One cradles her baby atop an ornate couch, another saunters across the frame tending to her flowers, and the final lady is knelt on the ground, applying lotion to her arms. This appreciation for life is displayed in three different ways. For the young mother, it’s shown in the way she lovingly cradles her baby. For the second woman, life force is represented by her flowers, which she intently tends to. For the elderly woman, the preservation of vitality is shown in the way she applies lotion to her arms; it’s clear that she hopes to turn back the clock, or at least pause time, on her wrinkling skin.
作品《No One Wants To See Life Fading Away》(没人愿意看到生命的流逝) 描绘了三个身材比例不协调的女人，她们浑身赤裸出现在画框中。其中一个女人抱着襁褓中的孩子，蜷卧在古典沙发上，一个生命的开始代表着另一个生命的流逝；在她身后，另一个大腹便便的女人，正高傲地欣赏着手中的盆栽，盆栽虽然茂盛，却有几只正在凋零下来；另一边，年迈的女士跪坐在地上，她正在涂抹身体乳液，让时间在皮肤上暂停下来。
As Guia’s following grew, people messaged her, saying that they were grateful to be properly represented through the diverse physiques of her art. Some have asked the Filipino artist if she’s a feminist or an advocate of women empowerment, but Guia hopes to steer clear of the stereotypes, misconceptions, and repercussions that come with these labels. “We have different ways of supporting what we believe in and this is my way,” she says. “I believe that I don’t have to self-identify as anything. I just let my artwork do the talking.”
随着 Summer 粉丝越来越多，有人私信她，感谢她在作品中展示多样化的身材。有人问过她是否是一名女权主义者或女性赋权的倡导者，但她希望摆脱这些标签带来的刻板印象、误解和影响。她说：“我们可以用不同的方式来支持自己的信仰，这就是我的方式。我觉得我不必标榜自己是什么人，我的作品自然会说明一切。”
While the lockdown initially helped her find her voice as an artist, COVID-19 has also been a source of frustration. “There’s a whole lot of things that I want to do, but I can’t because there’s a pandemic going on, and I live in a country where there isn’t much progress,” she says. “I feel very stuck and restricted. I just turned 24 but I feel like I’m wasting my youth and my goals are so out of reach.”
These pent-up emotions are visualized in Hell-bent to Do Something, which portrays a naked woman arching her body at such a drastic angle that her ribcage protrudes through her skin. The pose and gesticulation, with her kneeling posture, arms outstretched, and seemingly distraught demeanor visualizes Guia’s longing to break free.
虽然疫情导致的封锁措施帮助她找到了自己作为艺术家的声音，但也让她倍感沮丧。她说：“因为疫情，我有很多想做的事情都无法进行，而且我所生活的这个国家在这方面一直没什么进展，这让我感到非常受困，束手束脚。我刚满 24 岁，现在的我感觉是在浪费青春，我想实现的目标变得那么遥不可及。”
在作品《Hell-bent to Do Something》(拼命去做) 中，这些压抑的情绪得以形象化：一个裸体女人以夸张的角度拱起身体，以至于她的胸骨突起。从这个姿势和她的手势、跪姿以及张开的双臂，透露出一股心烦意乱，形象地展示了 Summer 心中想要挣脱束缚的渴望。
The settings of her paintings are also worthwhile to note. She often places her subjects within castles, palaces, mansions, or chateaus decorated with golden furnishings and subdued colors. These are spaces she daydreamed about during the lockdown. As a self-professed history buff, she explains that classical European and oriental designs have always fascinated her, even more so than contemporary styles. “I like looking at something that reminds me of the past. Maybe this is my extreme pessimism, but I dislike the future. I hate uncertainty,” she explains.
Guia regards a person’s nude form to be the most primitive state of man, their purest form, one stripped of all pretension. She recognizes that people seem to accept the body standards of women social media and advertisements endorse. “No matter if it’s modelesque or big and wrinkly, people always have something to say,” she says. By painting different figures, she aspires to represent realistic bodies, feigning disinterests to any forms of criticisms over her artworks.
She’s completely veered away from painting what might be considered as “ideal body proportions” in mainstream media, as she believes they don’t represent realistic physiques. Guia hopes that by painting female figures in varying forms and sizes, it will encourage people not to bow to a certain standard, but to look at women’s bodies in their entirety. “May they find beauty no matter how different they may be.”
Summer 把裸体看作是人最原始的状态，最纯粹的形式，没有丝毫的伪装。她发现，人们似乎总是会以社交媒体和广告中的女性体态为标准。她说：“无论是像模特那样纤瘦，或是身材肥胖、皮肤松弛，人们总要指手划脚。” 她希望能绘画不同的身材，展现现实中看到的身形，从不在乎那些批评她作品的声音。