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Amy Sillman Fatso, 2009


Artwork Factory


Amy Sillman’s painting “Fatso” shows in a cartoon-like style, in bright green, the massive, shapeless body of a grim looking figure. We can't tell if the figure is male or female.

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Amy Sillman proves that you can reinvent yourself: After leaving school she worked in a can factory in Alaska, then moved to Japan, learned the language, worked as a translator and decided once again to do something else entirely. She loves a challenge and dared to venture into new territory: At the age of 40 she completed a degree in painting and is now internationally successful!

Talk about it

Let the painting sink in:

What questions and feelings arise?

“Fatso” is an insult directed at overweight people. Amy painted the picture after feeling uncomfortable about her body while at the beach. Is she criticizing the fact that our idea of beauty encompasses only thin, athletic bodies?

"Painting has taught me everything I know on this earth! Sensuality, depth, surface, changes, the unknown, the hard-to-understand, the mysterious, the high, the low, the poetic, the intellectual, the dumb, the immediate. [...] Painting is like a love affair."

Amy Sillman



Why are people with fat bodies discriminated against in our society?

Similar to psychotherapy, Amy Sillman learns a lot about herself while painting. She looks closely, examines her feelings and develops a picture from this.

Look closely

You look closely, too: Amy works in layers—what has been painted over, scratched, or exposed?