In my paintings, I create a world wherein the characters are free to do as they please and revel in their own existence – an egalitarian space where objects, humans and creatures live harmoniously in a weird and messy promised land.
The paintings are a celebration of pleasure as a subversive tool to experience joy despite living in a time when autonomy over my own body is being threatened. I explore themes of food, gymnastics, dancing, other bodily excitements, makeup, flowers and my dog, Timmy, my muse and studio assistant. Using these everyday subjects as catalysts, I hope, to examine larger themes of gender, identity, love and agency.
Drawing from cartoon imagery of women and using my own life as a reference, I create images that are meant to be wildly joyous and humorous. Using humor and paradigms of cartoon women, I hope to destabilize cultural constructions of gender from which the original illustrated images derived. These emblems of femininity such as Betty Boop, Jessica Rabbit, Brittany Miller and Little Lulu are both offensive and deeply pleasurable to me. The cartoon also serves as a way to explore reductive figuration and traditions in image making such as female representation in art history.
Working from found images and my imagination, I make numerous drawings reducing and morphing the original image into something I feel excited about painting. Then I choose a limited palette and work within that restriction for the first half of the production of the image. After multiple paintings are in progress, I begin to create a color narrative between the paintings and work on them simultaneously allowing the separate palettes to merge into one. Some of the themes in my paintings are chosen before beginning the painting and others are more intuitive. For example, I began painting directly from the tube on the canvas and the marks reminded me of makeup. The similar properties and application of both painting and makeup, as well as the reference to the body, became a tool by which to explore beauty, the grotesque and sexuality.
Ultimately I hope to create a language that better helps me explore the world on my own terms and how I fit into this crazy place. I try to make open images that I can move in and out of and pull from for future images. I see my paintings as adventures in complicated gender tropes and a celebration of shifty, sloppy identity.