Hello all! To counteract the societally-imposed awkwardness of being single, here are a few other females—oil, watercolor, and Photoshop—that feel exactly as I do.
- A Woman in the Sun, Edward Hopper, 1961
Sauntering through a bare, unfriendly room with only coldness clothing my naked body and a cigarette smoldering in my grasp is exactly how I spend my mornings. Jagged skin and pasty walls, messy black pumps and the musty sweat of an unmade bed. An angry gust of sunlight illuminates only me, perky breasts touched by no one and hair straightened for no one. Hopper painted this image in 1961, his wife, Josephine Nivison, the model despite her climbing age of 78. His style, that of urban isolationism and American disillusionment, is captured perfectly with this downtrodden Madonna of the bedroom. I love this painting because a novel of backstory lingers behind the oil on this linen. Why did she sleep without clothing? Why did she smoke first instead of eating breakfast, donning a robe, or throwing her hair into a casual bun? This image hangs in the Whitney Museum of Art in New York City along with Hopper’s Early Sunday Morning, Road in Maine, and American Village. The curves of the luxuriant hills mirror her arms, breasts, and backside; in an article by Ray Carney, he writes, “Hopper uses the presence of the breeze, as it is represented by the movement of the curtains, to draw the mind of the viewer and the imagination of the work’s figure outward, outside of her physical confinements.”
- Love By The Book, Malika Favre, 2015
I like to color my lips with the tears and whiny nothings of men. My blue eyeshadow and ruby eyebrows mash together into fierce sexiness, these popping lips juicy and smooth without the kisses of any scoundrel. And the black wayfarers? They’re ingrained into this bombass bitch face. I adore the squirming man between her fingers being squished to death in his own petulant, insignificant, asshole nature. She doesn’t wear makeup to impress men; she uses men to amuse herself. Favre is French although based in London (similar to Italian born Michele Del Campo). According to her website, “Her bold, minimal style – often described as Pop Art meets OpArt – is a striking lesson in the use of positive/negative space and colour.” The different categories on her site—beauty, fashion, travel, etc—display daring prints of bright lips, provocative sex positions (the illustrated Kama Sutra), and Adele Bloch-Bauer inspirations. Starting out as a graphic designer, Malika now works with Sephora, New York Times, Budweiser, and Penguin Books. Right now, Malika is currently taking a road trip through Corsica!
- Girl with a Balloon, Banksy, 2002
Boyfriends fly away from me as surely as this heart-shaped balloon. They glimpse my non-flirtatious countenance, modest clothing, and brain scribbled with accounting formulas and Russian literature. They run away. My 4’11 frame leaks swirling hair and thoughts of the future, a boyless horizon of high paying jobs and leather pumps. The words “there is always hope” linger behind my dress. This Bristol born Englander has been dashing his paints on public spaces since the 1990s; not mere graffiti anymore, his pieces are thought-provoking, frightening, and macabre at times. While some of his art draws upon classical influences, there is always an element of sarcasm and cynicism saturating his strange subject matter. I love this artwork because it’s painted onto a gray sheet of concrete cracks and weeds. It’s supposed to be profound with a la-ti-da sentimentality, but I see a postergirl of ambition letting twenty year olds slip through her hands. This graffiti is located in the South Bank of London.
- Queen Mariana II, Diego Velázquez, 1652
The ruddiness of my cheeks is derived solely from being surrounded by boys who will never be men. I flush, I grimace, I fantasize about a nonexistent love life as scrumptious and voluptuous as my hair. And my outfit? I have to impress myself if there are no worthy boys to be sexy for. I might be an inbred Queen, but I still long for a man that knows who Tintoretto is and has a wine cellar in his mansion. Velázquez was the premier court painter in Spain during the 1600s—he was a child of the Golden Age in Spain and trained in Italy/Madrid like all aspiring painters. His most famous work, Las Meninas (1656), is in the court portraiture style he was to become immortalized for. Fleshy faces and stuffy expressions are his hallmark, along with remarkable brushwork and the ability to paint his subjects’ personalities onto the canvas. Also, he was the inventor of the “selfie,” painting his peeking face into Las Meninas without shame (and to promote the profession of “artist” as a legitimate one). Mariana of Austria was married to Philip IV, inbred King of Spain; her daughter, the Infanta Margarita, is the subject of Las Meninas. My favorite Velázquez paintings include The Surrender of Breda, The Triumph of Bacchus, Portrait of Innocent X, and Fable of Arachne.
- Redhead, Michele Del Campo, 2014
Mmmmm I can finally be as fat and grungy as I like without anyone commenting on my tightening waistband or the peppering of ice cream-induced blackheads on my lower chin. My hand clasps my heart with a sigh, reveling in the emptiness of the cold, Hoth-like landscape. The frizzy hair cascades down my jacket like a stringy waterfall of carrot orange. The lightness of loneliness. I love that her eyes stray out of the canvas, seeking something or someone out of sight of the viewer. Probably another piece of cheesecake. Michele del Campo is a contemporary Italian artist that was born in San Nicandro Garganico (Southern Italy) in 1976. I found his work by chance, and I immediately recognized his Edward Hopper-esque style. He too depicts isolated, disinterested individuals showing nothing but detachment in a variety of landscapes. He was educated in Madrid and London, but something about his style and subjects is distinctly American. My favorite part of the painting is the salad of brushstrokes composing the armchair—messy but coherent, they coalesce into a sumptuous piece of furniture I would love to sink in. Find Del Campo’s other work here.