|"De-Luxe" click to enlarge|
Sometimes a drawing does a mitosis. (Mitosisizes?) Well, the thing split itself into two pieces somewhere along the line.
I had this notion to do an old woman barfing. Yeah, I know, not really a new idea for me...I am deathly phobic of barf, so it always seems a fresh, relevant take on life...especially in these political times. So I had my usual Photoshop mock up and stuck in a folder for later.
|Old woman barfing rough sketch|
Later turned out to be about a week ago.
|Second generation of sketch|
Let's see: along the way a lot of changes happened, things morphed, things stretched, other things contracted...and in the end this was the drawing I made. In my mind, I was making something about ageing... I struggled with the barf--mainly I was thinking..."what does this even mean?" and "how will I render barf this time"? And those two questions killed it for me.
I guess I had always thought about contrasting an abject action with the signifiers of wealth and power--a rich cloak, embroidered robes, lace and pearls-- you know, when I was a kid going to the Boston MFA, I used to love those Rococo portraits of noblewomen. Maybe someday, like at my PROM, I can wear a dress like that! And oooooooooh lookie how well the artist renders silk! Can I please drown in lace collars, pearls and jewels for one minute of my acne-ed pathetic puberty?
(I never went to my prom).
And I grew up to understand that art had changed: it had gone from absolute spiritual necessity to flattering those who could afford odious status symbols redolent with signifiers of power. Ew. Thanks separation of church and state! (Just kidding--I love separation of church and state. But it does do a number on the meaning of art.)
Anyway: I wanted to reference that lacy stuff...I have a long history of drawing princesses and queens. When I was a child I drew frowning queens all the time--read into that what you will.
|Frowning queen, circa 1966|
I have done a few frowning queens as an adult too! So I added a crown and sceptre. I also added a giant sneeze cloud in the first sketch (which is not in the final drawing but if I do decide to make this a window, I will probably include). Well, everyone these days will see that as a giant cloud of covid spreading itself around and of course, covid is mostly affecting those who are unable to avoid others--and wealthy folks can mostly avoid it, but they are every bit as vulnerable to it as a disease. Especially if they are older.
So whole I definitely was thinking here about privilege, about class taking a pratfall--but I was still also thinking about ageing. I didn't want this to be a piece wherein its easy or simple to hate the powerful and laugh at their downfall just because. I want to depose certain structures more than anything, but dehumanizing your enemy is always going to end up dehumanizing yourself. So I wanted some sympathy for this character.
I also thought she had the wrong face. The original face was graceful and beatific--too accepting. So I changed the face and that's when the mitosis thingie happened.
VERY quickly, I took the old face and stuck it on a body and it was magically just right. How often does that happen in the creative process? JUST. ABOUT. NEVER!!!! So that was exceedingly pleasant!
And here she is: