24x30 Acrylic, Glitter, Resin coated.
I idolized my mother's clothes when I was a little girl. To me, the clothes always represented different worlds that my Mom had been to but I hadn’t. There was the glistening white Greek-like toga dress, with glittering beads on the ties. No matter how many times I tried to put that dress on throughout my life I could never seem to drape it or tie it the right way. She had a banana yellow sweater with black lines scribbled all over it. I always loved when she wore her yellow banana hair clip to match. A simple floor-length black halter dress. I wore that to the only school dance I ever went to. With five feather boas. (My other obsession as a young girl was the feather boa section at craft stores. I would sit with them as long as my mother would let me.)
There was the emerald green leotard with a diagonal sash of silver and green sequins from her majorette days. I loved her playful white wrap dress covered in every single color of thick squiggly lines. The electric blue always stuck out to me and I’d imagine myself old enough to wear it, walking down a fancy city street to my fancy job with electric blue stilettos to match. My mother always wore a teal and pink plaid shirt -it had a tiny stitched pink parakeet on the front pocket.
That was my comfort shirt. It was the pattern I always looked for in crowds or in stores, along with her 80s hair sticking up over racks and shelves. When I look back on my life, combinations of teal and pink are still so vivid. We always had a joke that the little birdie shirt was always my favorite.
Above them all though there was the puffy black sweater covered in sparkling silver scribbled lines. She had a velvet black bangle bracelet with silver lines and large hanging diamond-shaped earrings, also black with silver lines. Of all of my Mom's clothes, that outfit is who I knew I would be the most like when I grew up. It had the sparkle, and the chaos I have always considered necessary that comes along with a life well spent on this planet. That is what this portrait represents.
When I think of the 1980s I think of my Mom's outfits and banana clips. Her big hair. The smell of a mechanic shop, full ashtrays, my Dad's Cornwell Tool truck, the gigantic speakers my parents had where the volume lit up. The smell of the attic getting the Halloween decorations down. She had this glass tray covered in tall, glitzy perfume bottles. In my memory, I can still remember what it felt like to imagine that I would have fancy perfume bottles someday, too.
Culturally to me when I think of 1980s America, I picture sharp, jagged edges and an unmistakable monochrome in contrast, like lightning in a black and white sky. This painting is a portrait of that frequency.