Ego (2010) 106.68cm X 152.4cm, only faces and eyes in oil paint, the remainder is in acrylic, some gold leaf, sold
You can see that I am using acrylic with a flourish in this painting. I was painting exclusively in oils up to my 2010 exhibition. However, I switched to using acrylic as well so that I could decrease my exposure to some of the chemicals to which I am allergic. Changing my medium was not at all difficult for me. I had learned how to paint seriously in watercolour when I was a child. Watercolour uses similar methods as when painting in acrylic. However, because I changed the medium, there was also big switch in the range of colours available to me. As you can see, this painting is brighter than my previous paintings and the tendency to use neon colours dominates.
During this time I had experienced a dramatic change of mindset as well. That was because of my background as a fashion designer. In the field of fashion there is an obsession with the way people look and present themselves. However, at that time I had become a foster mother to two acid burn victims and I had a sudden switch of mind-set to realise how superficial looks can be. So two things happened at once, my choice of colours changed dramatically as well as my mindset and outlook.
I started looking around me and realised that people were hiding themselves behind a mask of make-up, hair design, hair gel, clothing, and showing off their possessions. This painting represents all these different influences that had suddenly changed me.
Eyes are floating in the air, looking around like radars at other people as they present themselves to the outside world. These eyes have eyelashes made of peacock feathers. For me, the peacock, that poor innocent bird, symbolises showing off. Real peacocks only want to get the girls and I have observed that the females pay no attention at all when the boys are trying to get their attention.
The head on the pedestal has no body because ego is only in the head and nowhere else. This head has a mirror that reflects her eyes as she looks around to see who is taking notice of her. There are two heads, basically fools, who hang around quite absorbed with themselves. These two fools do not have bodies either and look like they are made of feathers and air. I used gold leaf as a symbol because it only has value because humans decided that gold has value. Many think they are only worth as much as the gold that they have. For animals, gold is worth no more than dirt because, for them, only food and water has value!
My mother, who is a tapestry weaver, really liked this painting. She made a beautiful tapestry based on it that is just the same size as the original. It is included here.