There came a point in my early 20"s that I realized I had more to express personally through my haircutting and coloring than I did through photography. I was in my second semester at (CCA) California College of the Arts in Oakland California, and I was contemplating a career as a fine art photographer and noticed that I really didn't understand my creative voice well enough to envision what I would enjoy photographing to build a career as an artist. Hair was sculptural, social and fun. I knew I could make the money I needed to create a great life for myself.
I was worklng at a salon in Berkeley California while I was in art school. The owner of the salon wanted to retire and sell the business. I was young and ambitious, and I asked her if she would finance the sale for 5 years. She agreed, and began my career as salon owner. After I purchased the salon we would host art receptions every 3 months and participate in open studios every year. In the early years of my career I figured out how to keep my art making close while building a strong financial foundation through hairdressing.
The portraits that I create are generated using various apps and the camera on my iPhone. I render most of the images in Juxtaposer, Paint FX, Stackables and Face Tune. I find my inspiration through simple conversations I have with my clients, friends and family while I am cutting and coloring their hair. I discover so many interesting perspectives and insights to ideas and philosophies I may have never found on my own pursuits.
I usually take 3 images of each subject. The first is a smile or a smirk looking directly into the camera phone, the second, is the feeling of a wish or a hope and the final is an incorporation of a hand gesture of some sort. After I have collected the three perspectives I stitch them together, abstracting most of the features. Usually I start with the eyes, then the nose, mouth and hair. I save the hands and torso for last.
The last two series that I have been exploring are Burqua Barbie and Byzantine Queens.
Burqua Barbie was inspired by my client Gail who is a doll collector, but not Brabie dolls. She belongs to a doll club. She shared with me her attraction to dolls, yet at the same time her resistance to some of the silly personalities of some of the doll collectors. I paired this with my fascination with hidden identity, and used the vail to express, in a very cartoonish manner, Burqua Barbie making her way through life, even if the odds are not in her favor.
Byzantine Queens was born from images my son Milo has been sending me this last month on his first trip to Italy. He is visiting a friend in Florence and Rome and has photographed the inside of several Byzantine Churches. This inspired me to read more about that time in history. I learned that Emperors and Empresses ruled together, yet there was not much information about the Queens at first pass through. The queen in a position of power, yet still invisible/hidden
The charitable component was born about a year ago during our businesses efforts to raise money for our Earth Month partner, The Clean Water Fund. I came up with the idea to make quirky portraits using my iPhone to help raise money for our charity. We decided to have a cut-a-thon in the morning then have an art reception afterwards. All of these efforts resulted in raising over $5000!
The portraits were so well received, that I decided to continue the creative and fundraising project through image making. So my 1000 faces project was born. I am working on my 4th fundraising project to date. I look forward to raising the most money ever for our partner this year. I have made several series using many of the facial features from the nearly 360 portraits I have created already