UPSIDE DOWN | oil on linen | 24x24 inches
Do you remember the 1970’s and if so what are three highlights of that time frame for you? We practiced our dance moves for school dances to the soundtrack from Saturday Night Fever. I loved my corduroy Levis pants with my comb in my back pocket and Frye boots. I was cool. I smoked my Marlborough's, drank Boones Farm wine and could afford to buy a dime bag.
Tell us about the artwork/poem you are submitting for the exhibition. My first painting “Lady Marmalade” was inspired by my favorite song from the 70’s. Every Saturday one of my favorite shows “Soul Train” came on. The host, Don Cornelius would introduce a new guest who would perform the latest hit song while dancers moved and grooved. I loved the rhythms and funk, the steady disco beat, the stylish clothes... I desperately wanted to be on the show or go to a disco. But I wasn’t old enough so I could only fantasize of being a star like Donna Summer or Patty LaBelle.
However, the painting sold which was awesome but it left me scrambling to paint another for the show.
Luckily, I had other images from the photo shoot I could use for a new painting. One in particular, I felt was just a beautiful image and I decided to crop it really tight to emphasize the face, hair, earrings and her red lips in a black and white graphic way. The image reminded me of a famous portrait of Diana Ross and another favorite song of mine "Upside Down".
Do you use photography as a reference for your artwork? Always. No one would ever be able to pose for hours for my style of “in the moment” portraits.
Plus, I wouldn’t have been able to do another portrait for the Freakout show in time.
Do you listen to music while you work? Absolutely! It distracts me from thinking too much while I paint.
How do you see the current state of the art market in response to your body of work? I’m grateful for having sold some work this year because I have a lot going against me. Realism is certainly more popular than it has been which is very exciting. But it doesn’t have as big a market as other forms of art like impressionism or abstract works. Also, highly realistic portraits are a harder sell especially those that are looking at you. And, they take a long time so I’m not as productive as I would like to be. But these portraits are what I love to paint right now. That’s what’s important. I’m having more fun than ever.
Have you experience a eureka moment while working on the artwork for Freak Out? Unbeknownst to me, by thinking of the 70’s and music, I discovered an underlying “music” theme in a lot of my work. The memories I have of songs and my love of music have found their way into the new portraits I’ve been working on. For example, a piece I’m working on of my sister in law which has a subtle naughty aspect to it can be coupled with another favorite song of mine by Robert Palmer “Hey Hey Julia”. And another portrait of a friend who looks like Janis Joplin is related to music. You get the idea.
What collections would you like your work to end up in?
All of them.