When I first looked at this bust, I was fascinated. It looked broken in such an aesthetically pleasing way that you almost felt like it was done on purpose. I knew I wanted to make this bust a focal point - no other elements, no distractions- but I wasn’t sure which direction I wanted to take it. The first thing you are drawn to are the lips. The genius mason behind this bust perfectly captured the idea of romance. So I had considered a pink background with the title “First Kiss.” I thought of how we only remember bits and pieces of our first kiss, some things are blurry, while others remain perfectly clear. But after taking some time to think about it, I found myself pulled in another direction.
I kept circling back to how some of his vital senses and even his consciousness were gone - no thought, no sight, no sound. The concept of being “brain dead” - which I typically feel after sleep deprivation - overwhelmed me. I sought to capture the idea of staying up late with your thoughts swirling, until you are just there, desperately trying to fade into sleep. As a finishing touch for this representation of “Insomnia”, I applied a black glitter background to imitate the beauty and depth of the night sky.
Originally, I saw this statue as an beautiful representation of how something fractured could be made “whole” again. How it could be appreciated, even now, as something worthy and magnificent.
But when I considered the background, I thought my usual clouds - light, fluffy, cheerful - would be too jarring against the sharp fractures in the statue. After weeks of working on the piece, the emotional tone had changed for me. Now, I felt it conveyed a different message - mankind’s careless destruction of art and nature. With all the horrors that come with war, one side effect we tend to forget is the loss of historical monuments and art - like this statue. A piece of our collective past is destroyed in an instant. There is also the damage that has been created over time. Mankind is destroying what makes our world so unique - nature. The melting clouds is a representation of global warming, specifically the drought and heat waves that affect us here in San Antonio.
Growing up, my mother and grandmother loved visiting London. My siblings and I were fortunate enough to go several times as children, and I have so many fond memories. As a child, I always loved getting to see or do anything that had to do with the royal family. But, now, as an adult, I find myself fascinated with British History; not only from an academic standpoint, but also from a feminist perspective.
I decided to create the painting shortly after Queen Elizabeth II passed away. She was an icon. From being a car mechanic during WW II to being the longest-reigning British monarch, she was an underrated example of feminism for her time. She led a nation during a time when women were portrayed as homemakers, wearing aprons in the kitchen and dutifully waiting for the return of their working husbands.
“The Queen has become a feminist icon, whether she wanted to or not, simply by never letting gender define her. Her gender has always been irrelevant to her capacity to do her job … and by doing that job stoically and with the utmost dedication, she’s inadvertently done a great deal to normalize the idea of having woman in charge. “
- Emma Barnett, host of the BBC’s “Woman’s Hour” 2015
“She fits into the tradition of ruling queens who are very useful in feminism, more through their deeds than their words.”
- Arianna Chernock, author of “the Right to Rule and the Right of Women: Queen Victoria and the Women’s Movement.”
As a female raised in the South, I have felt the societal pressures to conform, to bend under the traditional gender norms of what a woman “should and should not” be. I, personally, admire her from the perspective that even when she felt the overwhelming pressure to conform, she trusted herself and followed her instincts as a leader. She exhibited stability while still being open to change. She prioritized her life’s purpose over the unspoken law that still rings true, even today … women must be self-sacrificing martyrs to be good people/wives/mothers. For that, I admired her.