Alongside other solitary indoor pastimes such as reading and boxset-binging, the humble jigsaw puzzle has been booming during lockdown.
With their focus on eye-catching colours and aesthetically-pleasing backdrops, emerging puzzle brands such as Jiggy, Whiled and Piecework have pulled off what would have been deemed impossible pre-pandemic: making the puzzle cool once again.
Another of this new breed of puzzle connoisseurs, Naked Bits, is going one step further to stand out from the crowd with a curated line of NSFW puzzles featuring nudity through the decades.
Founded by designers Nicole Robinson and Delta Murphy in 2017, Naked Bits became a full-time gig for the duo during lockdown last year as they collaborated virtually from their respective homes in New York and Italy on their first Kickstarter campaign.
Following a successful campaign, Robinson and Murphy are due to release their first four unique puzzles, featuring images from different decades that highlight the evolution of society’s views on sexuality and nudity.
Titled Slave for a Queen, The Forest Swan, Tangled Bodies and Sisterhood Freedom, each puzzle set comes with 550 pieces and showcases imagery from the works of Bob Mizer, Shoog McDaniel and Anne Barlinckhoff.
A photographer from the 1940s onwards, Mizer’s idealistic version of the male body helped change society’s perception of male nudity from shameful to celebratory, while McDaniel is a southern, queer, non-binary photographer and artist who uses their work to shine a light on diversity, and Barlinckhoff, who is currently living and working in Europe and Africa, is all about questioning societal assumptions.
By pairing the unassuming jigsaw puzzle with traditionally taboo topics, Naked Bits hopes to deliver an experience that’s engaging and lighthearted, while also challenging puzzlers to learn from the past and listen to the voices of today.
“Our fantasy is to set us free from the taboo of the naked body — by celebrating all forms of nudity, body types, sexualities, and identities and by pairing a conventional game with an unconventional topic,” say Robinson and Murphy.
“Our dream is for Naked Bits to liberate the taboo and encourage everyone to loosen up, laugh a little, and accept one another for who they are. We know that’s a pretty big ask for a puzzle, but it’s worth a shot, right?”