St. Madonna – Patron Saint of Empowerment

PAINTINGS, Saints

madonnasmThere might be more talented singers or better dancers, but I was Team Madonna from the get go. Named after the mother of Jesus, she was destined to make a mark in history and although she has been a fashion/music icon for decades, she is my saint for other reasons. She questioned her faith, challenged the patriarchy, owned her sexuality and her image, made public mistakes and was no stranger to controversy. For a young South American Catholic girl with an overbearing father, she was the antidote to everything oppressive. (Note, it’s been impossible to properly capture these paintings because of the embellishments and metallic ink, but hopefully all the detail is not lost.)

St. Madonna – Patron Saint of Empowerment
Mixed media on paper, 11″ x 14″

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St. Joe Strummer – Patron Saint of Revolution

PAINTINGS, Saints

stjoesmThe impact of popular culture and music on young children is often underestimated. When The Clash released the album “Combat Rock” I was eleven and a recent immigrant to the United States. I had no idea what “Rock the Casbah” was about, but it piqued my interest and I began paying more attention to their lyrics, which in turn educated me on many current events. Joe Strummer was behind the majority of The Clash’s political lyrics and he snuck their anti-establishment message into punk, reggae and rockabilly beats and somehow made sporting military gear as a political statement look badass. His songs were anthems against police violence, the upper class and greed. He was an outspoken activist right up to his death in 2003 and is still a symbol of political activism for many. Everyone knows the hits, but for me, some of the best ones are the less popular “Revolution Rock”, “Know Your Rights”, “Clampdown”, “Straight to Hell” (a song partially about the effects on the mixed-race children left behind after the Vietnam war- not a very upbeat topic for a rock song). Unfortunately many of his songs are still relevant and he has continued to inspire me to Resist. I chose “Know Your Rights” for the background because it can easily be the anthem for Black Lives Matter or a number of other causes some of us are currently still fighting for:

” You have the right not to be killed
Murder is a crime
Unless it was done
By a policeman
Or an aristocrat
Oh, know your rights”

St. Joe Strummer – Patron Saint of Revolution
Mixed-media on paper, 11” x 14”, 2018

St. Paul of Pee Wee- Patron Saint of Fun

PAINTINGS, Saints

IMG_4225Sometimes we just need a reminder to stop taking ourselves, and life, so seriously. Paul Reubens and his beloved character, Pee Wee Herman, remind me to embrace life, joy and playfulness. I tried to capture that essence with this Saint, using bold colors and stylizing it in a less ornate and realistic way than the previous ones. I think it’s also important to mention that his arrest in the 90’s reminds us that Saints are human and imperfect. There’s not much more to say about this painting other than, “I know you are, but what am I?”.

Mixed-media on paper, 11″ x 14″, 2018

St. Siouxsie- Patron Saint of Darkness

PAINTINGS, Saints

IMG_4099I could not paint St. Robert without also painting his counterpart, British Goth Goddess, Siouxsie Sioux. They both entered my life at about the same time and their music and personas helped me connect with a darker, deeper and more meaningful side of life and myself. The front-woman for Siouxsie and the Banshees made an impact on me because she embodied strength and power and made a striking impression with her combination kabuki/silent film star makeup and torn clothing with bondage gear accessories. During the 80’s when things were especially superficial, she wailed about somewhat macabre topics such as wearing animal fur for fashion in, “Skin” and about the death of the people of Pompeii in the first song I ever heard by them, “Cities in Dust”:

“Hot and burning in your nostrils
Pouring down your gaping mouth
Your molten bodies blanket of cinders
Caught in the throes

Oh oh your city lies in dust, my friend
Oh your city lies in dust, my friend”

Revised: St. Sabina

PAINTINGS, Saints

maxresdefault copy

The saints series that I have been working on combines the imagery of Catholic prayer cards and people who have influenced me and helped me to assimilate early on. Prayer cards are a huge part of my upbringing and my parents still give them to me to this day. They are intricately detailed and feature a certain saint on the front, and a prayer on the back and are given to loved ones for special as well as everyday occasions. There are saints to protect you when you travel for example, and each one has symbolic items connected to that saint. Since I was named after an Italian saint who was martyred in 125 AD, I revised this painting to work as part of the series because I always felt it was incomplete.