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"Velveteen Girl" - Introduction to "Underwater Daisies" Series

This piece has spent many weeks sitting before me witnessing my entire emotional cycle of creation. I actually started it within the first introductory weeks of COVID-19 Quarantine not intending any correlation between it and the current world pandemic. I started, like I do with many of my paintings, giddy for a new journey and I had a pretty clear vision of where I wanted to end up. However, this piece is unlike any of my previous work so I was bound to hit some major roadblocks. I went into it with a vision of completing a whole series surrounding this feeling I got from the reference images and music I set to accompany the series. Like most of my pieces, it was created just from a feeling and not necessarily a prompt.

We quickly spiraled into the ironic artistic existential crisis that movies and society often joke about but let me tell you, it’s very real for the people who live it. In order to be a Creative, I think you have to have unusually high access to your emotions. Your emotions come from stimuli that generally triggers memories. Contrary to our societal beliefs, emotions are important, good, worthy and an integral part of our survival and healing. As a Creative, we experience waves of emotions, sometimes tsunamis. I broke down while working on this piece because I thought I was struggling with technique and composition. I repainted it over and over and over again. At this point, I’ve even repainted the hands more than I can remember. In hindsight, I wasn’t struggling with technique. I know how to paint hands, I’ve done it a million times. I know how to use color and make implied texture, I do it in watercolor all the time. I was struggling with the meaning behind the piece. It wasn’t that I didn’t know what it meant to me, I could feel that, but I couldn’t articulate it and therefore I couldn’t transpose it.

It was a great fellow art friend that pointed it out to me. She asked why I’m working on this piece… it’s very different from my other work so it must mean something. She suggested that I nail that down and the rest will come. I thought, “sure, sounds easy enough. I know what this piece means to me”. Well, the painting continued to sit in my closet for about another month while I wrapped my head around it. *Shout out to having amazing art friends, regardless of being isolated or not, I'm so thankful that technology makes the world so small*

The reference piece for this series is a still shot captured in Lana Del Rey’s “Freak” music video. I’m heavily inspired by music and I’ve loved her work for years. I feel she’s one of the greatest lyricists I’ve encountered and her sound transcends time altogether. Her themes tend to centralize around losing oneself entirely in love, lust, mourning and self discovery. Her songs are the audible form of astroplaning. She also discusses the notion of what it is to be a woman in such a beautiful way. The fragility, sensuality and power of the whole experience. Being a woman is certainly an experience.

This piece and this developing series will explore euphoria, sexuality, personal exploration while celebrating the Psychedelic era and Counterculture of the 60’s. These themes will feel new compared to my previous line of work because they have been long underground and brewing. I’ve always chosen subjects that are soft and comforting to any audience because I’ve always been scared to hear that someone doesn’t like or understand my work. That’s no longer my goal. I just want to paint the things that are important to me. I want to paint the things that set me on fire. I want to paint a world that I want to live in.

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