Illustration by Polly Nor

Cba 2 Pretend No More

For British illustration artist Polly Nor, zero care in the world looks like a devil which has divested itself of a very weighty human skin suit.  This metamorphosis isn’t as scary as it sounds though, in fact, it can be quite comical.

Picture This

Have you ever got home after a long day of work, then the minute you hit that recliner, cracked that beer, and started watching Seinfeld reruns, you became someone else? At that moment, all your cares melted away along with the resolve to please everyone around you before yourself. What does this look like to you? To Polly Nor, this looks a lot like herself and the girls that she knows. Consequently, her inspiration comes from“everyday struggles, things that [she’s] feeling, memories, dreams, conversations, funny tweets, status updates and selfies.”

The Devil’s Paradise

We are given a look inside these girls bedrooms where they spend their time smoking, drinking, sleeping, crying, getting ready, taking selfies, sexting, and sometimes masturbating. The devil almost always inserts herself in these activities, perched on a bookshelf at times and seemingly innocuous. Then at other times, making a more obvious intrusion–the kind that leaves empty beer bottles and cigarette butts behind. Polly Nor refers to the devils as “figments of her [character’s] imagination, a manifestation of her frustrations, feelings and desires.”As a result, the character of the devil in as constant a state of flux as the girl she is imagined by.

A Closer Look

Polly Nor also uses her art as a platform for discussing sex and gender issues; “questioning the ubiquitous male vision [of women],” using an “alternative view on sexuality, relationships and emotions from a modern-day female perspective.” This would explain why most of the women she draws are nude or barely clothed; to more easily expose what would normally be considered ‘imperfect’. In keeping with challenging unrealistic ideals for women, Polly Nor  says that some of her work is a reaction to pornography. This male-dominated industry, she believes, is responsible for objectifying women and misrepresenting sex and female pleasure. Cue, “The Devil Wears Nada,” “Nm Rly Wbu,” and “Took Him to The Sky Garden.”

Second Skin

At the heart of her work, Polly Nor displays this inner turmoil that has you completely at odds with your she-devil one moment and embracing her the next. Sometimes even to the point where you become one with her. There are times that I wish there was no layer to peel back but I think you need that tension. As human beings, we’re not one dimensional and the work of Polly Nor is proof of that. She’s getting us comfortable with the idea that our mask can sometimes slip, let alone to accept that we all wear one.


To see more of Polly ‘s work, click here.