Q: Where do you come up with your ideas?
A: I decided on the subject for my art when I realized not what I thought made art important, or beautiful, but what actually moved me. Once immersed into the contemporary art scene I found myself obsessed with the impact of conveying ideas & emotion through facial expression, paint application, & the amount of meaning that can be communicated in the blank, unpainted parts of an artwork. The main driving force behind my artworks is subconscious. What's being communicated through my artworks are really my feelings; raw, concentrated, encompassing, and things I have no idea how else to convey. At the moment, being "female" is a subject I find fascinating- in a strange, disturbing, beautiful & impossible way. I love it & hate it, & it's something Im creatively compelled to explore.
Q: Watercolor is so difficult! What made you choose to work with it?
A: My medium came as a matter of chance, I received a postcard from the Art Center College that was designed with watercolor in 2010. The image was so hypnotizing the way the fluidity of the color translates energy & movement, Ive been obsessed ever since. I had received lessons in Sumi-e both in High School & College, but that was my only formal introduction to water media. I mention Sumi-e because the ink is very similar to watercolor in the way it behaves, and the practice of the art form felt natural to me; It's instinctual to work with. I translated my experiences with ink to watercolor, but I went a step further & embraced it for its wildness in combination with the use of color.
Q: How long does each painting take to create?
A: Some are completed in a day, some paintings take weeks, and not all of them get exhibited. I paint as much as I can with the goal of always improving. Each portrait begins as either a carefully planned drawing, or a spur of the moment sketch. I make sure every line & shadow is proportioned the way I want it to be which helps me feel more in control of the painting process. Ultimately each painting is made up of layers upon layers of different colors, which creates a depth to the contours thats unique to watercolor. There are also varying textures & techniques in play: drips, bleeds, splatter, which all have to be timed in terms of dryness. Its a soft & delicate medium, quick in some aspects, & speed can be key, but building up to the final product can feel like climbing mount everest.
Q: Why are your portraits sad?
A: I want to challenge people. We would have no gauge with which to measure happiness without pain, & I think that's an under-appreciated fact of importance. When we experience immense moments of grief, sadness, fear, or anger these are emotions that have a unique potential to be learned from in ways that can improve our lives unlike anything else. I've dealt with depression, have suffered the loss of a parent at a young age-- but I chose to have these experiences strengthen me. I want others to see this potential. Viewers also tend to project their own feelings onto the paintings- some see them as sad, others don't- so in that way they tend to act more as a mirror than a fixed idea.
Q: Where do you find your models?
A: My paintings are based on real people, I work from photographs. I like to reference candid images of models that have been produced by skin, makeup & photoshop professionals, & give them my own filter of "perfection". I alter features & enhance or minimize certain shadows. Most importantly I peel back psychological layers to create a portrait of thoughts & feelings.
Q: Where did you go to school?
A: I started with San Diego City College then completed my degree in Monterey Bay. I've circled the drain of a long string of public schools. If you're looking for a recommendation I would say write your own rules & follow your own path, trust yourself & do what feels right because there's no magic answer for where to find your creative passion other than within the very walls of your own head. Do your research, do what scares you, take risks, stay curious.
Q: Why defectivebarbie?
A: I was in Middle School, about to enter High School, & I was trying to come up with a clever screen name. I thought up defectivebarbie because I spent so much time with dolls as a kid, but by the time I entered my teenage years I was a deviant. The name felt appropriate, then it stuck, & I've been using it ever since. Over a decade after having thought of it, it was the simplest choice of artists name, because it represents the message of my artworks perfectly. Its an ironic concept, to suggest that women who are painted as thinking & feeling beings rather than flawless objects are "defective", & the distinction is important to me.
Q: Why do some of your portraits not show their eyes?
A: I started out focused on emotion, but then I had this compulsion to do something very different, to obscure & abstract the entire upper half of the face. The result looked like what I could only describe as a portrait of thought, rather than a portrait focused on resemblance. I felt like it was a portrait of what it feels like to make art. Now my portrait series shows women in a spectrum of transition into these complex portrayals of thought. Something really interesting happens when you obscure the eyes of a portrait; many people responded that they're able to connect & see themselves in the painting more easily when this is the case. I've been experimenting with these different levels of abstraction, & have been developing an evolution of artworks from the results.
If there are any other questions you would like to have answered leave them in a comment & I will be sure to answer it.