Yes, I have recently begun to expand beyond painting only women.
I live and work in Brooklyn, NY.
Referencing photos that I take of people that I know, the paintings often begin with a feeling. After an initial drawing on the canvas to establish composition, they take many layers of paint until they feel alive.
I knew that I wanted to paint something "real" in every sense of the word. I had moved to NY from the Pacific Northwest, but was struggling a lot with finding my voice as an artist. The paintings of these women began because I realized I needed to simplify, to start at the beginning and not worry about fitting into - or standing out in - any already established concepts of art. I wanted to paint the people that I knew; the people from the place that I was from. So I painted my aunties, a group of women not directly related to me, but I have known my entire life, whom I have always respected for their strength and playfulness.
It's a simple painting of a woman in her middle years, standing naked, looking at us, a slight smile on her face. But to me it's way more than that. This woman was in the room when I was born and she watched me grow up. Because she was standing in front of me for the creation of this painting, the expression on her face is a reflection of the history we share. This is my personal experience of the piece, but in a more universal sense, she is a real woman who has lived a full life, confidently standing in her skin. This is in itself a powerful thing.
The project started in a personal way and for personal reasons. I had absolutely no idea where these paintings would take me. It has been so incredibly humbling to hear people's reactions and stories when they see the work. With a few exceptions, feedback has been positive. I think the paintings seem to cut through to people on a very human level, no matter their age, gender or walk of life. This is the best reaction I could ever ask for.
I'm not a historian in any way, but I think a long time ago we held women up in our society much more. We respected them in a way that we are only now beginning to do again.
Oil on canvas. There's nothing like it when it comes to portraying the human body.
I am really excited to have an exhibition in Los Angeles at Gusford Gallery in Spring 2016. The show deals with different experiences of what it means to be in a body.