2020 thus far has been pretty horrific to say the least. It certainly will be remembered for decades to come. Compelled to interpret the devastation of the Covid 19 virus, I painted the poisonous siren, Pestilence, tip-toeing across Manhattan, her toxic presence raining down on the sky scrapers and seeping up through the groundwater.
I made a big stencil of creepy, spider like flowers to float over the panel as an underpainting. I like the idea of the underpainting showing through to create a bit of chaos and confusion to the viewers eye. It was also super fun to paint in the buildings but leave the windows or vice versa, a different technique than I usually use. The view is one from an apartment on the 45th floor in mid-town Manhattan, looking toward the Hudson River. Trained in fashion design/illustration, I have always enjoyed drawing and painting the female figure. I did a lot of sketches before I came to this ghostly figure with barely a face. You can see the progression of the work in progress above.
“Patriot” is the first of my series of Shadow Women. I am not a political individual but I do have a moral compass that points much further north than the current administration. Inspired by Richard Hambleton’s Shadow man, I created this strong Shadow Woman, marching like an Olympian across the panel with her head and flag held high. I love my country and feel very blessed to live here but there is much work to be done before we can say all of our citizens are “dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal”, (from President Lincoln’s Gettysburg address given on November 19th, 1863). It has been a long time coming.
My alter-ego, shadow woman is a super heroine, inspired by Richard Hambleton’s Shadow man. “Looking into Chaos,” is the result of my need to move forward, push my comfortable limits and incorporate the figure while trying to empower others. I very much believe in the power of one and that by modeling the change we hope to see, this action will inspire others to take ownership of the problems we face and help.
One summer afternoon in 2014, shortly after I had moved back to NYC, I found myself on an LIRR platform, trying to figure out which platform was for trains going into NYC and which were going out to the end of Long Island. There was no one around to ask, the ticket window was closed. An interesting man, dressed in cargo shorts, a tee shirt and a ball cap that said, “JERK” across the front walked onto the platform, (I later discovered the street artist, “Incarcerated Jerkface”) hence the cap. He had a twinkle in his eye, a waxed handlebar mustache and was carrying some canvas bags. I decided to ask him if I was in the right place. He answered in an Irish brogue that indeed I was on the platform heading to NYC. We started talking and he told me that he was heading to Bushwick, Brooklyn to work on a mural for The Bushwick Collective, and showed me all the cans of spray paint in his bags. Solus was my personal introduction to Street Art. His visual social commentary is concise and on target and his playful sense of humor draws you into his world and makes you want to see what else he has to say. That chance meeting opened my eyes to all the street art around me and I was hooked.
I wanted to work with spray paint and on a larger scale. The street is a gritty place so I used that influence by spray painting on old construction board, then using markers and oil crayons for more definition. I worked in the stairwell in my building which was being renovated so there was lots of construction there at the time. Certainly not ideal but super
After I moved to San Francisco a bit later, I converted the garage into my outdoor studio. I started small and found I liked thinking about the directional light that I could create within each piece.
Once I got the feel of it, I wanted to work bigger so found some steel at Home Depot and did a series of large flowers, experimenting with different techniques. Big Red has the light from within. I like layering the colors in a veil, masking the edges and experimenting with different nozzles to get different effects.
I really liked the vibrant brights but wanted something a bit softer in dessert colors to sell in the high desert of Park City, Utah. I made Metamorphosis and Spiraling Fauna as companion pieces. The former is a large orchid like flower and the latter a compilation of smaller shapes weaving through one another.