Featured Artist at Work: Marja de Sanctis

Marja is the first in a series of artist collaborations with TomboyX. Below is an excerpt from Marja's blog discussing her experience of this collaboration. To read the full piece, please visit Marja's blog.


Tomboy X is a brand based in Seattle and it was found by two brave and long-sighted women, Fran and Naomi. They wanted not only to make good underwear for women that identified themselves as tomboys but also challenge the perception and conversation around this theme. This campaign focuses on TomboyX urgency and interest in changing the cultural conversation around gender stereotypes by challenging assumptions, pushing boundaries, and promoting creative personal expression. With this campaign they want to encourage people to think differently, rather than telling them what or how to think.


With that aim they wanted to do this campaign alongside creative individuals and I was one of the ones they invited to start this conversation.


I came out with my two proposals and colour palette. This one below is the not chosen alternative:


The proposal below was the one agreed. It represents diversity within women and their body poses' allude to the letter X (which is an important element of the brand's name).


Once we agreed on the concept to bring forward all the rest was quite straightforward and the whole artwork was finalised within two days of being briefed.


I made five feminine figures, each one engaged in different activities and dressing in different styles. I applied unrealistic colour tones to the Tomboy X characters to allow an open interpretation and the association with multiple personalities, races and sexualities.


The colour palette: I worked in economy. I was off for Easter holidays and with the flight liquid restrictions I bought only a few acrylics with me. This palette were and still are my favourites at the moment, burnt sienna, powder blue, opera rose and pale violet and blue.



Once all the figures were done they were all assembled together resulting on this pattern to be repeated:


The women with their different personalities, colour and poses, together form a harmonic composition that balances individuality with a need for belonging.


Once the pattern was done and all the changes were agreed, Julie the TomboyX product development & production ninja put all this together, controlling that all the colours and artwork were as close as possible to the original artwork, making the garment come true.

Here's the result:

Click for more details and to order Marja's Artist Collection