Lately, I have found that the figures in my art are starting to speak to me and have a life of their own, just like might happen with an author. I had an interesting thing happen along these lines.
Usually, when I need to draw a male figure, I take pictures of myself in male drag. First I draw what I see in the photograph, then go on to “masculinize” myself. I flatten the chest, broaden the shoulders, narrow the hips, square the jaw, and so on. I was all set to go through this process to create a piece that eventually became The Knave of Swords seen here. I used some binding to flatten my chest under my shirt. Then I realized I needed a new reference photograph of myself without the shirt on in order to understand the position of the shoulders.
That’s when the character took on a life of its own. Then I realized I had a treasure.
To learn more, this is a totally fun video about the origin of the word "Butch" and what it means. https://www.them.us/story/inqueery-butch
From this experience, new pieces featuring butch women with binding have emerged. This one is currently called Circle Mirror, and I plan to develop this into a painting soon.
I am currently developing this one into a painting entitled The Hanged Man.
So far, I am not sure the folks who follow me on social media, where I have posted images of the drawings, have picked up on the gender of the character, or the presence of binding. I seem to be sneaking up on this new path slowly and quietly, perhaps attempting a bit of "passing" myself.
To be clear, I know that as a cisgender female in a heterosexual marriage, I will never fully understand the experiences of a non-binary, or otherwise queer person. But I also feel drawn to respect the identities of my characters, as well as celebrate the myriad orientations and identities of the people in my community and beyond.
Below, if you click on my youtube link, you can see a slideshow video of the progression of this saga, from the initial photographs to the point at which I traced the drawing to another paper.
Oh, and by the way, Happy Pride Month!
To learn a bit more about gender identity, click here.
After doing mostly collage for a few years, I have taken a turn to painting again. Although I love the effect of the collage, painting provides me with agility and fluidity that I have come to miss. When I wish to alter or change a piece, a simple swipe of the brush and it is done.
It is a wonderment to me that during this time of increased awareness of the plight of Asian Americans, and during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month that my latest male figure should arrive in the form of a sexy, bad-ass Asian man.
With this new beauty, I felt inspired to make a painting with a woman playing cards with us, the viewer, and at the same time doling out our fate. A real woman, and a quasi-super-natural element of fate at the same time. The question was, which suit should I make her? Which suit would pack the most amount of symbolic punch?
I solved it by creating an engaging online poll in my social media communities, asking my fans to vote on which suit, hearts or diamonds would best represent my newest femme fatale. The Queen of Hearts got a good showing, The Queen of Diamonds was the undisputed winner.
If you are interested in witnessing the blow-by-blow, non-stop action of what it takes to create an artpiece, you can follow me on social media:
In this short video, you can watch me paint the diamond on this card of Fate!
Here are the hotsheets with the sordid details, the true confessions, and the inside info on my artistic process. Learn how it all happens right here!
Not seeing what you're looking for? My previous blog on blogspot can be found HERE.