I’m heading over to the University of Illinois at Chicago this Thursday, Oct. 12. The College of Dentistry is putting on a pop up art show that day, which will feature two of my oil paintings.
I’ll be on hand to show my paintings and chat with UIC staff about my art. I participated in last year ‘s diversity day art show, and it was so much fun to share my work there.
Pop Up Art Show Part Of Diversity Week 2017
The pop up art show is part of the college’s Diversity Week 2017, presented by the Dialogue on Diversity and Inclusion. Entitled Colors Of Inclusion and sponsored by the Diversity Advisory Committee and the Office of Student and Diversity Affairs, this year’s Diversity Week features several events for the college’s employees.
Inner Diversity: Two Self-Portraits
This year, I’m showing two self-portraits that reflect the theme of diversity by exploring the
individual diversity we all experience as part of being complex human beings.
How many times have you felt as if you had two—or more—selves inside you, vying for your attention or fighting for control? Have you ever felt as though your inner self was quite different from the person you show outwardly to the world? Or been afraid to show who you really are? Or had people make incorrect assumptions about who you are and what you’re like, just by how you looked?
If you found yourself nodding yes to any of these questions, then you’ll understand the “individual diversity” I mean and why the pieces I’m showing this year at UIC look the way they do. I painted them at a time when I had red hair, and very often, people who didn’t know me took one look at my hair and made many assumptions about who I was and what I was like.
Both self-portraits have that bright hair, which I chose to paint as orange. It stands out so dramatically yet contrasts sharply with the rest of each picture. Self-Portrait With Orange Hair shows a more serious me, with broad shoulders and looking directly out at the viewer in a way that generally indicates confidence, competence, and self-control. The facial expression, however, conveys a less direct, more mysterious, and even somewhat hesitant impression.
Self-Portrait With Orange Hair II shows a softer, more whimsical me. My face sits in a yellow central area, with my heart below it. Surrounding them is a medium blue background that deepens to dark blue at the edges. It’s as if my loving, playful self is popping out like a pea in a pod to peep out at the viewer before retreating to the blue calmness. I’m revealing the loving, vulnerable part of myself in this painting but in a way that protects that gentleness with a big, blue cocoon.
A Word About Last Year’s Exhibit
Like this year, my paintings in last year’s exhibit, Roots Of Diversity Through Arts, consisted of two portraits.
Green Rita showed 1940s film goddess Rita Hayworth, whose father was born in Spain and who performed with him in Mexico as a dancing duo during the Depression because she was too young to work legally in the U.S. I painted her with her trademark red hair contrasting with green skin because I loved the visual contrast. It fit perfectly with the diversity theme because talent comes in every skin color and every skin color is beautiful.
The second painting, Nat King Cole, showed the legendary singer in his iconic tuxedo and bow tie, looking askance at something off to his right. Cole grew up in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood and gained international fame before dying at age 45 in 1965.