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Before taking my big leap into digital art circa 2019, I had taken a big interest in traditional oil painting. I'm an illustrator at heart who loves characters and portraits, and my earlier years at the University of Cincinnati allowed me to create characters using the traditional media I loved so dearly. I had always been interested in themes of glamour, beauty, and melodrama, so it felt natural to make these works during the fall and spring semesters of my sophomore year in college. Huge sweeping lashes, glossy lips, and runny mascara became prominent elements that helped tie each painting into this body of work. Not to mention the super long necks, of course.
I took major inspiration from fashion illustration when coming up with the concept for each painting. The elongated, super slim figures represented a level of glamour that us normal humans could never possibly achieve - they were alien, like creatures from another planet born from the imaginations of all the famous designers I looked up to. I wanted to further exaggerate those features to exemplify beauty that was beyond human, and settled on a style that mixed those familiar fashion illustration elements with other inspirations like anime, surrealism, and even pop music.
Each painting began as a quick sketch in my sketchbook, but were then quickly transferred onto scraps of wood paneling that I found around UC's art and design building. The panels were already long and slim, which further influenced the design of each portrait, and varied in size from 24 inches all the way up to 9 ft. in height. To speed up the process, I blocked out the colors using acrylic paint and then followed up with oils to create depth and detail.
I was drawn to the glossy beauty of each figure in contrast with the scrappy nature of the panels I dug out from bins and piles in the studios. Being able to indulge in the melodrama and high-camp beauty of each painting was a cathartic experience that I just couldn't get enough of, and the entire project was a very rewarding one.
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