Blackberry Winter is based on a series of portraits I took of women artists that I have met along my journey since returning to SC three years ago. Inspired by the graphic beauties of Alphonse Mucha, I wanted to show that each artist is beautiful and talented in her own way- each world that the artist creates is unique to her and this is what makes the whole so strong. We are all different. We all have our superpowers. We all have our gifts. Why be in competition when we are all goddesses?
In a world where social media has accelerated personal and collaborative connections and images are constantly flitting before our brains in hyper drive, there is the very real danger of one’s mind becoming a breeding ground of fear and competition rather than inspiration and beauty. The less we focus intentionally on love (both of ourselves and others), the easier it is for other humans’ successes to drive us to insecurity and madness rather than a collective sense of pride and joy.
Driven by this ongoing contemporary conversation and colored by the dramas of Greek mythology (including but not limited to the very theatrical 90’s rendition i.e. Xena: Warrior Princess), the relationship between reverence, admiration and jealousy is further explored in these large scale, colorful oil paintings. Painting has always been a sacred form of narration, and portraiture fascinates me – how people always looks a little bit like saints or royals just by nature. It is form of story-telling rich with history, from being used to flatter nobility to being a means of conveying truth such as with the controversial paintings of Gustave Courbet. The goal was to transform the girls into my personal round table of six strong, capable women within whom you can see different parts of yourself.
In the titling of the pieces, I aligned each of them with a Greek goddess – allowing the chosen female archetypes and stories to illuminate the modern female’s strengths. It felt like the perfect way to tie in the past and the present, and the making of a myth lives on. Through uniting our stories with the timeless ones of ancient worlds, each woman is elevated to an even higher realm of beauty and awe. It is my hope that we may see each other as all a part of a larger story, and that by revering our women peers rather than competing with them, our connections will grow deeper and our divisions will fall to the things that we truly respect and admire about each other.