This painting narrates the personal story of Angelica. Both figures in the painting are Angelica at different stages of her life. The background version is timid, slouched over, holding a Swiss Army knife, while in the foreground she is confident poised and holds a tattoo gun. Angelica struggled for many years with Dermatillomania, which is a compulsive skin picking disorder and a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Angelica used tools such as a Swiss Army knives to pick at herself but as she grew older, she redirected those same impulses to the more creative and positive outlet of tattooing. Slashes of red, fallibility, on the past version contrast with splashes of blue, spiritual growth, on her current self. The pattern on Angelica’s legs symbolize the grounding energy that she feels from a pair of boots she has worn throughout the many varying stages of her life. The circle with the dotted lines and arrows symbolizes the cycle of change and transformation she has undergone, while the triangle represents the sacred strength of the feminine within her.

I use the technique of chiaroscuro (high contrast from light to dark) to reference how a woman’s depth can only be rendered with her darkest of shadows present as well as her light. I want to step away from the assumption that the female nude has to be reduced to dehumanized sex symbol or an allegorical figure of purity to be well received. The personal stories of female subjects are scarcely told and often censored. I intend to show that beauty is incomplete without the humanizing experiences that a woman obtains throughout her life. I utilize wood as the foreground to illustrate the raw nature of the content.

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Oil Painting on Wood.


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