Simultaneously, I've been desiring to incorporate my community into my artwork. My last major project (Basic Needs/Creature Comforts) featured myself as model, out of no desire to look at myself that much (because, believe me, it isn't easy or awesome), but out of necessity for the project. The series before that, I used and abused one dear friend for multiple portraits combining her face with others' bodies and personalities. Since I have so many talented, interesting and deep friends, I want to paint them - as themselves.
And herein lies the new body of work. I ask any willing soul with whom I have a close relationship to figure out what place is theirs. This can be the place they own or lease, a public space, or something more ambiguous. Additionally, to the willing couples, I have asked that they find the place in which they collectively feel ownership of (it's harder than it sounds, believe me). The idea of capturing the creature in their own natural habitat is very key, as I believe that people are the most genuine when comfortable. And where else would someone be more comfortable and at ease than in a place they feel they own? The hope for the result is 20 unique environmental portraits that communicate the spirit of the person or people depicted (and hopefully get me into graduate school!).
Here are the 3 that are completed so far: