Today I went to Kingston, Ontario with my friend Nicole to visit our friend Charlotte. Charlotte is about to graduate from Queens University with a bachelor in Fine Arts. After four long years, she put together her final exhibit along with other graduating class members. It was called "Suspend Your Disbelief". We travelled about two hours to visit, spend the day and show our support. It was well worth the trip, and I'm really glad we went.
I am extremely proud of all my friends and their various accomplishments; I know so many talented people with all sorts of interesting talents and hobbies. I've seen Char develop as an artist over the past eight years and even back in high school I could tell she was very talented.
Her artwork, like herself, is very interesting and unusual. Some might even say a little twisted, and I mean that in the best possible way!
Her individuality and "weirdness" is what draws you in. She has always had an impressive knack for spotting the divine, the different, and the new. Whether it's fashion trends, or music, or art, or whatever- she usually knows about it before everyone else does. Always ahead of the times and aware of what's going on in the world.
Basically, she's the epitome of cool.
So obviously, I was really excited to see what she had put together at the end of it all. I had seen bits and pieces of her work over the last few months but wasn't quite sure what to expect when it was all ready to be displayed to the public. I had an idea of what she was going for; the overall theme and inspiration she had been building upon;
Back during the brainstorming process, she had told me of her desire to create art influenced from social networking and the internet and its place in modern society (especially of North American women, around our age).
Portraits have always been a talent of hers, and she has done some really beautiful pieces of family members and herself; but when drawing people she sometimes teeters the fine line of extremely realistic / borderline creepy. Char always remembers interesting people and their faces; even if they aren't conventionally beautiful- that's kind of what makes it work. A little grotesque, a little exaggerated, and sometimes humorous. So, colliding this talent with pop culture references, womens studies (and the influence/background of beauty, aesthetics and fashion) and internet culture becomes:
Black and white prints of nude selfies on top of Marilyn Monroe's face
Heart shaped box
Boot painting on canvas
Fake flowers and clumps of hair
Trays on the wall
Hairball on a platter, Fake nails and a melted candle
Self portrait mirror pic/nude selfie of Charlotte
Collection of paintings on canvas
Clockwise: Tanned beach bod, Kim Kardashian, Hello Kitty fake nails and glitter, Applying eye make up, Chanel bag with daisies, Toddlers and Tiaras portrait
Series of paintings/portraits of young ladies
A few of these are based off people we know in real life and all of them have just a touch of glitter applied in a spot or two
And then the one wall is complete installation; this is the first time she's done anything in this sort of medium and part of the project entailed her collecting old make up from all sorts of people as well as a bunch of trips to the thrift stores.
The entire installation
Dress found at a thrift store
And covered in make up
Shelves of recycled/old make up donated by various people, hairballs and beauty accessories
Nikki checking out the make up, pointing out which ones she donated to the project
Silly pic of me busy on my Iphone, probably Instagramming
This was all set up for a weeks worth of viewing. In the whole building, there were 3 or 4 floors with rooms and hallways exhibiting all the graduating Fine Arts students work. Charlotte had a room to herself, featuring everything I just showed. Along with an impressive artist statement posted on the wall, the last evening it was up she also projected a film she made on the wall which was of our friend Anya applying make up and taking it off etc. I didn't get to see that part but I'm sure it was fabulous.
Finishing college and university is a strange thing because partly you're sad that it's over, nervous for what's ahead and maybe unsure of what to do next. But for people like Charlotte and myself, especially being involved with art and fashion and living in Canada with so many opportunities and career paths to choose- I think it is very exciting, and after four years of being in school I'm dying to get out there and do some real work of my own, follow my own ideas and start projects that I maybe never had time for previously. After four years of figuring out what you're good at, and what you're interested in, by the end of it you might be completely ready and focused on what you want to do/build/create/explore.
Check out more of Charlotte's work on her website:
And actually, looking at her site now I am questioning- why wasn't this painting of Britney Spears included?! It's my fav!