Sometimes 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
This one is a very sacred Saint for me. From middle school through tenth grade I had THE WORST “best friend”. She ridiculed me, introduced me to cigarettes, alcohol, drugs and then ran away from home with the boy I was dating and slept with him (yeah, he was a loser too). Looking back I wonder why it took me so long to move on from that relationship, but I can’t regret it completely because she also introduced me to the music of “The Cure”, a British band from the early 80’s that changed the trajectory of my life monumentally. Up until that point I had only been exposed to mainstream, top 40/pop-music and some barely edgy dance music. The Cure’s lyrics were dark, yet romantic and the orchestral arrangements were haunting and melodic. I had never heard anything like this and I was at a point in my life where I was really struggling because I didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere- even within my immediate family. Their lead singer, Robert Smith, was one of the first to embody what is now referred to as a Goth look, which was very different at the time. He wore (and still wears) smeared red lipstick, all-black clothes, and heavy dark makeup, which portrayed a somewhat spooky persona to those who did not delve any further into the meaning of their songs or took the time to listen. They embodied the image of darkness and “ugliness” and put it out front for everyone to see, which either was welcoming to the misfits like me, or made people deeply uncomfortable. Their style and sound helped me escape and find a place where I felt safe and like I finally belonged. They carried me through some of the most difficult years of my life and also opened the doors for me to explore many other dark bands and artists that I connected with. I have been modeling my Saints series after Catholic prayer cards, and for this one I based the design on an antique Dutch funeral prayer card which was all black and white. For this one I used primarily black, silver and gold ink and embellished it with metal accents and a tiny bit of bright color for his lips and the heart.
2018, Mixed-media on archival paper, 11″ x 14″
Adolescence is difficult for everyone, but as a tween immigrant to the U.S., I particularly struggled to fit in. While some people might dismiss pop culture as trivial, for many, it is an important education in assimilation and the focus of a new series I am starting viewing pop culture icons through the lens of my early-childhood, Roman Catholic experience. While imitation is just the first step to self-discovery, it is a valuable part of the individuation process, so first in the series is actress, Molly Ringwald. The iconic characters she played in 80’s tv as well as John Hughes movies helped me to navigate the transition to “all-American teen girl”. It was a very narrow portrayal, however it resonated with my situation, having just moved to a rural and not very diverse town in Florida in 1982.
St. Molly- Patron Saint of Adolescence, 7″ x 10″, mixed-media on paper, 2018
I am super honored to be featured as the first “G of the Month” (Goddess of the Month) for the newly launched Woke Magazine, an all-woman venture that brings amazing, positive and conscious energy to the table. Click on the G of the month tab at the top of the page to read the full interview. Thanks, Saha!
I’ve been trying to find some Zen (and getting away from the news) for the past week by working on these small-scale paintings of the traditional 8 auspicious symbols used in Buddhism (and also in some areas of Hinduism). They each have a specific purpose/meaning and you often see them pictured on prayer flags. I could not find one definitive reference for the order in which they are supposed to appear, so here are the White Conch, Victory Banner, Dharma Wheel and Golden Fish. These paintings have a lot of metallic details, which unfortunately don’t translate well for screen.
Buddhist auspicious symbols, mixed-media on archival paper, each 6″ x 6″