So I'm actually gonna get all bloggy with my bad self. Sue me.
I'm a Mississippi girl & proud of it. Sundresses, preference of going barefoot, fried food, the works. The South is part of who I am & a fraction of that tends to show through my artwork.
Then I pop out art like this:
Here's my secret- I'm also a National Geographic girl.
Growing up in my house, fashion magazines were not that prevalent. No Vogue. No Elle. No Marie Claire. My mom had Southern Living & Better Homes & Gardens, which was boring because all the pictures were of food and houses. There were a couple issues of McCalls & Redbook her friend had given her that I hoarded and poured over (cause mommy fashion mags are swank, yo), but those were unique cases.
The other magazine n the house was the National Geographic.
How I lived to be told to check the mail and find that beautiful brown paper wrapping in the mailbox. I made a goal to rip open that sucker & read it before my dad. Even though I didn't always read it; my focus was on the pictures. Gorgeous, candid, world expanding pictures that blew a little kid's mind might've started her reading the dictionary for entertainment. (Odd, I know. I was that kind of kid.)
What really stuck with me was how Nat Geo presented people, and women in particular. In this model-infested, beauty-obsessed society, these chicks were Real. They had problems and fears and insecurities, and it showed in their faces. The women were not often thin. Dirt was on their feet and lines on their faces. But they were (& are) gorgeous. Ladies in saris, burkhas, babushkas, and tattered dresses have been the most beautiful women I've ever seen. They were beautiful because they were real and imperfect. (Take THAT Lady Gaga!) Here's just a taste of what I'm talking about:
There are a few issues I've read over & over, staying with me through the years. I brought them to college with me.
'African Marriage Rituals' November 2000: I nearly wore the cover off this issue. Whether they wear Berber veils, Ndebe beads, or Himba skins, every girl shares the universal experience of being a bride. The same emotions in western weddings are here too: joy, nostalgia, anxiety, even fear. As different and strange as each wedding is, I am reminded we are all the same as humans.
'Rana Tharu' September 2000: The article describes them as women of grace & it couldn't be more true. They wear homemade dresses, live in conditions we couldn't dream of, & yet they are fiercely proud, independent and strong. There is such strength in their gazes, I couldn't help but admire them.
'Untouchables' June 2003; Very much resonated with me & my loathing for unfair discrimination. It was the first time I felt a calling to the mission field. It would not be the last.
So, all those feral, tribal, powerful women I tend to draw, the come from here.These strong, imperfect, Real women were my supermodels and glamour girls growing up. And I'm proud of that. Just today I bought an old issue of Nat Geo at our Goodwill store. It's from 1978 & has an article about the marriage of a Swazi princess to a Zulu king. I can't wait to read it.