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Artist Profile

ANNIKA CONNOR : Mirroring My Vanity

These are my Ladies: a series of five oil paintings based on photographs of Hollywood starlets and pinup girls from the 1940s and '50s. The women I portray are Diana Doors, Gene Tierney, Veronica Lake, and Jayne Mansfield.

I have always been attracted to the fashions and styles of the past that celebrate beauty in the feminine form. This fascination with glamour led to an examination of the various ways women have been portrayed as symbols of style.

I was inspired by pinup photography and studio publicity shots that capture women in a very specific and controlled manner. While the images vary, the women are all representing various ideals of beauty: glamour, sexuality, sophistication, or innocence.

In order to have access to a larger collection of photographic reference, I took an internship in the photo library at the Playboy headquarters. Here I was able to view thousands of negatives and prints of women from the 1950s to the present. This opportunity affected the formal aspects of my paintings by influencing my decision to keep a reference to the camera in the paintings. Through depicting the strong contrast created by studio lighting, I reinforced the fact that my paintings were not portraits of living women who modeled for me, but rather paintings based on photographs of stars who modeled for the masses.

By exploring the ideals of beauty that these women represented I was also examining the ideals of beauty I held for myself. Eventually the series became less about the women whose portraits I painted and more about depicting my own tastes and ideas of the feminine ideal. The paintings mirror my own standards of beauty by portraying women who exuded aspects of femininity I admire. Essentially the series is self-reflective as the paintings are self-portraits of my vanities.

To find out more about these paintings, or other works by this artist, email Annika Connor at [email protected]

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