Alice and the Queen of Hearts in San Francisco

In 2015 I started a new body of work called “Alice", in which I overlap the story of Alice in wonderland with the History of San Francisco and Paris to represent the schizophrenic state of these ever changing cities. Each painting of this series tells a piece of the story about our everyday lives.  In a sense Alice is you, me, anyone who lives or work in the Bay Area, Paris or any large metropolis and has to adapt or face its challenges. I work in layers and use recycled and found materials like plastics, papers, metals. Waste that would take years to break down and disappear in a landfill.  I either print with this different materials or leave them in the work. The technical process applied to this series is inspired by the presence of the water surrounding the peninsula and the issues raised by the pollution produced by the city. Painting Alice, a very recognisable character, is for me, a way to talk about all kind of subject matters, like being a working mom, an artists in the silicon valley, a homeowner in a real estate bubble and to keep it consistent. It also allows me to connect with the viewers’ childhood memories and make my narrative more personal. I absolutely love it when someone tells me there's something about my painting that he feels like he can identify with.

Click on the painting to enlarge the image.

 

"The length of my bathing suit"

Acrylic on Canvas 60" x48"

"The length of my bathing suit" was inspired by a photograph from 1925 "Smokey" Buchanan from the West Palm Beach police force, measuring the bathing suit of Betty Fringle on Palm Beach, to ensure that it conforms with regulations introduced by the beach censors.

Next to it are Beach girls on stilts inspired by a 1950 photograph. The girls are athletic and wearing form fitting colorful bathing suits, like lollipops, eye candies on a stick. This painting is about women's rights. The right to wear what we want, when we want it.  Woman's fashion always reflects the world we live in. Women have always been told what to wear, and how to wear it. Conservative or Liberal. An ongoing battle.

This painting is also inspired by "Le déjeuner sur l'herbe" of Édouard Manet created in 1862 and 1863 . The artist in this painting doesn't depict a nude but a naked figure contrasting with the male figures fully clothed in their modern parisian men's suit. Once again the woman's body is the center of the outrage.

 

 

"Queen of Hearts shaking SF"

Acrylic on collage 24"x24"

In this image painted on top of newspaper articles about the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the queen of hearts is shaking San Francisco, the same way women have to shake the city to keep their rights.

 

"Medusa, Queen of Hearts"

Acrylic on canvas, 36"x36" 

My queen of hearts are represented with an anatomically correct heart instead of a simplified symbol... The victorian era was fascinated by the human heart, through poetry but also science with the invention of the stethoscope. In our modern society, ruled by science and computers it feels necessary to go back to the heart as a symbol of  the central wisdom of feeling as opposed to the head-wisdom of reason.

 

"She has a mind of her own"

Oil on collage 12"x12"

How do you paint everyday heroes ? With heart and brain. Women can achieve anything, if society permits it… Even in the western civilization, they still have to fight to keep these rights. They cannot take anything for granted. My paintings are about these heroes of the ordinary life. With their hearts and brains they keep on shaking the world. Using the San Francisco’s earthquakes as a background I aim to show how unstable women’s situation is. How destructive it can be for them when their rights are taken away.

 

 

"Phrygian cap"

Oil on collage 12"x12"

Pink hat or Phrygian cap, same fight, liberty and equality . Women are intelligent, equal to men. In difficult times like wars or natural disasters, society gives more responsibilities to women, but as things calm down these new rights are taken away from them. Unequal wages or access to certain jobs, women still have a lot to do to have the same rights as men.

 

"love Machine"

Acrylic on collage 24"x24"

This painting is about breastfeeding the world, taking care of our planet. It presents a contrast between the destructive event of an earthquake and the care, love and construction of a young human been through breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is still making the news, it’s a delicate subject in our modern world. Violence can be on view everywhere, but act of love and natural way of life can’t. More than ever we need to take care of the planet and its inhabitants.

 

 

 

"David Against Goliath"

Acrylic on Canvas, 36"x48"  

Finding balance between art and new technology in the city by the Bay is a difficult task. The money made by the artists and crafters  doesn't match the one made by the new Silicon Valley's adventurers. Slowly but surely the San Francisco art scene withers. 

 

"Atomic Suburbia"

Acrylic on canvas 20"x16"

Vacuuming artificial grass with an atomic mushroom in the background. This image is about 3 different subject matters: women's status in the modern world, the drought side effect of artificial turf in the Californian suburbs and the nuclear situation in the world.

Inspired by Nevada's Survival Town, May 5th, 1955 where the US government detonated a 29 kiloton atomic bomb part of the innocuously-named Operation Teapot, which involved a series of 14 blasts in the Nevada desert over a three-month period. It was designed to test structures made of various materials and placed varying distances away , they even had canned and frozen food to stock the pantries and freezers-- to see if anything would be safe to eat post-nuclear attack.

 

"Alice and The Bubble"

Acrylic on Canvas 36"x36"  

This painting is a reflection on the crazy real estate market we have in San Francisco, and how hard it is to find the perfect house for our loved ones. Like in the Story "Alice in Wonderland", Alice grew too big into the beautiful victorian house. But honestly, with the market being what it is nowadays, if there was a giant in the house you want to buy, you would still buy it and deal with the giant later. She could even become your new french au pair.

 

 

"Real Estate Rabbit Hole"

Acrylic on Canvas, 36"x36" 

 In the city's maze,  Ariadne's golden thread will prevent you from losing your mind while looking for a place to live with your loved ones.

 

"Multitasking"

Acrylic on Canvas. 36"x36" 

Busy lives are the trend in our modern world. As a mom multitasking is a requirement. Family, work, social life, housekeeping and shopping will make the days feel like they're always too short.

 

"Alice Flying"

Acrylic on Canvas, 24"x36"

Inspired by the news and my fear of flying. Traveling is amazing, it's just too bad the airline companies make you feel like merchandise instead of human beings. 

 

"Make a choice"

Acrylic on Canvas 16"x20" 

Alice is falling down the rabbit hole the same way we sometimes feel when we lose control of our life . This painting is about the decisions we have to make in our everyday life. We don't have a choice, we have to make a choice even if we're never sure which way it will lead us. In this image, Alice is falling into the San Francisco Bay. A shark is waiting for her. She can either choose to eat the cookie or to drink the potion. She will either get bigger than the shark and it won't be able to hurt her, or so small that it will no longer care anymore, but then what will happen next?

 

"Bliss"

Acrylic on Canvas 22"x22" 

In the crazy world we live in, finding a moment for yourself, to relax, recharge and recenter is  a must. What could be better that floating on the bay's water with your favorite animal... Carpe Diem ! 

 

"Knowledge"

Acrylic on Canvas, 24"x24" 

In today's world, young girls don't always have access to school. They are denied the right to dream of a better future for themselves. The turtle is a symbol of knowledge, protection and support.

 

"Adrift"

Acrylic on Canvas 24"x24"

Drifting on an ocean of Absinthe. Mixing the story of Alice with the famous green fairy.

“After the first glass of absinthe you see things as you wish they were. After the second you see them as they are not. Finally you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world.”
~ Oscar Wilde

 

"Immigration in San Francisco"

Acrylic on Canvas 36"x36" 

San Francisco Financial District was built on top of buried ships from the gold rush. Today’s Immigration is tomorrow’s wealth.

 

"Encounter"

Acrylic on Canvas 36"x36"

This is an encounter. Inspired by Jules Verne book “20,000 leagues under the sea” this painting is about fluidity and motion, colors and pattern. The octopus is meeting the Nautilus like in Verne’s story, but in this image both of them should be okay. Like in life, it’s not always a catastrophe, just a little scare.

 

"Alice protecting the Eiffel Tower"

Acrylic on Canvas. 16"x20" 

I often work with live models, they help me find the inspiration. In this painting, Alice is admiring a miniature sculpture of the famous Eiffel tower. With todays' headlines and the fight against terrorism, this little painting takes on another dimension and a deeper meaning. 

 

"Frida Reina De Corazones"

Acrylic on Canvas 12"x18"

In my series of Queen of Hearts Frida Kahlo is a beautiful inspiration.

 

"Breakfast"

Acrylic on Canvas 12"x12"

We live near the ocean and we always forget about it. For this image, my husband was my model, I made him a fish mask out of paint and paper and when he came back from work one evening I did a photoshoot with him and a bunch of lemons. My friend Debbie gave me one of her lemon beast that grown in her yard. The perfect diner for a trout-man. If Life gives you lemons, eat them for breakfast or make a painting on the subject.

 

"Alice and the Key to San Francisco"

Acrylic on Canvas, 16"x20" 

This painting showing Alice with the key to open the door to San Francisco is the beginning of her adventures. Because she's entering a world surrounded by water she has a nautilus on her head. This cephalopod on her head is also a symbol of the schizophrenic lives we have in a big metropolis, always late or in a rush, stuck in traffic to go to work or to buy Christmas gifts. All the things we do, and even if we always try to do or best, they keep piling up like we're doing the 12 labors of Hercules in one day. FYI at the end of the day, when you have a splitting headache, you look like that on the outside.

 

"Alice and the key"

Acrylic on Canvas 18"x24" 

Is another version in a different size, of Alice going into the city of San Francisco. Going through the door is only the beginning of the adventures. This is the time when you can still retrace your steps and go home. But once you decide to keep going forward, everything becomes possible.

 

"Big City"  

triptych Acrylic on wood panels 30"x10" 

“Big City” Mixed Media, 10”x30”. San Francisco became the scene of an epic battle between the art/craft/victorian style and a certain bohemian way of life against the new technologies developed in the Silicon Valley. Nowadays, artists can barely afford to live and work in the city by the bay.

 

"We're all Alice"

Series of small portraits 6"x6" each, oil on mixed media