Skin Series, 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented a challenge to me as a figurative artist. Isolation left me longing to be with the friends and family I missed, and painting or drawing them seemed only to further this longing. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Instead, in my inability to paint whole figures, I focused in on the body - namely, skin. I’m sure I’m not the only one to develop a unique relationship with skin during the pandemic. Stress related break-outs, self-care related beauty routines, and boredom induced hair plucking all became common. A lot of us have had time to reevaluate parts of ourselves we might not have before. I began to see skin as the arena of a whole different world with its own stories of pain, triumph, strength, and loss. As its own entity skin became less of a place of frustration and burden and more a wilderness full of simultaneously familiar and alien sites. In painting skin, the depth of experience - and material - amazed me. Painting a bruise, acne, or lip hair was all cathartic beyond belief. Covid no doubt will have a lasting impact on my practice as an artist, forcing me - and I’m sure many others - to dive deep into unfamiliar territories.