Introducing: “Monument Valley”
As described by the Monument Valley’s website: Navajo Nation’s Monument Valley Park is one of the most majestic – and most photographed – points on earth. This great valley boasts sandstone masterpieces that tower at heights of 400 to 1,000 feet, framed by scenic clouds casting shadows that graciously roam the desert floor. The angle of the sun accents these graceful formations, providing scenery that is simply spellbinding.
As some of you may know, this collection of paintings is widely inspired my family’s road trip vacations to places throughout America. The inspiration for this painting goes back a long way to our family’s first road trip along Route 66 to see the Grand Canyon.
The Road Trip:
My mom was a genius when it came to planning road trips with “base camp” accommodations. For this trip, we stayed at The Grand Motel, a throwback motor lodge in Kingman, Arizona (with orange shag carpet and all) for a week and took day trips to the tourist attractions.
On our final day of the trip, my parents were informed by the kind old owner of the Motel that Monument Valley was just a “hop-skip-and-a-jump” away from where we were staying! So, we spontaneously decided to add that destination as the final day trip. A long 8-hour car drive later, we arrived at Monument Valley!
Although it turned out to a be way more than a day trip, I’ll never forget stepping out of the car to witness the iconic two red stone glove formations for the first time. Before that moment, Monument Valley was merely a figment of my imagination as defined by Hollywood movies! But to see that vast, colorful dessert in person for the first time took my breath away. It made me feel small. In fact, a through thread of this series is the inspiration I receive from that feeling of awe I get in places of grandeur, not only in nature but in that of American History as well.
It was on that trip, almost 15 years ago, where I envisioned this scene of an old classic car cruising through this beautiful valley as the sun rose. On my family’s trip, unfortunately, after we soaked up the every ounce of beauty that the drive through the valley had to offer, it was time to head back to base camp in Kingman… another 8 hours!!
This 16-hour round trip drive in a single day will live in infamy with my family. We look back and laugh at how trustworthy we were of the sweet old lady at the front desk of that retro motel and I’m so glad we did. It was a freeing experience to relive these fond memories and create a painting that will forever encapsulate the importance of this place.
This painting started with a sketch that combined three photographs of the valley at different angles. The woman driving the 1958 Chevy was inspired by a unique vintage advertisement I had found in black and white that reads, “Your pride will perk up whenever you’re seen in your ’58 Chevrolet!”. I also heavily drew inspirations from antique travel posters for this design.It is created in automotive enamel on a 12”x16” gallery-wrapped canvas. The final painting is an imaginative scene of a real place which I hope intrigues and entertains the viewer. As with every painting in this collection, the landscape is made up of a collage of images that I feel truly represent the reason this place earns a spot on the map of America. The clouds are probably my favorite part of this painting with their illusive look. I think the formations mimic a vintage paint-by-number in such a cool way.
What is “She’s Been Everywhere, Man!”:
“She’s Been Everywhere, Man!” is an innovative collection of paintings that will be created to preserve Americana and redefine “pin-up” with a modern standard of equality. These paintings will represent the importance of “place”. A sense of place is the emotions someone attaches to an area or title based on their experiences. Place can be applied at any scale and does not necessarily have to be fixed in time. Place can change over time, as its physical setting and cultures are influenced by new ideas or methods.
The series will depict historic locations and vintage cars, all of which have a need for conservation and preservation. Through my art I hope to encourage and excite others to not only visit these iconic places in America, but do it in car that they have maintained with their own hands. After restoring my 1966 Jeepster with my dad, and traveling cross country in it with my family, I realized that our country’s rich history is defined by our willingness to maintain the things and preserve the places that established our unique cultural identity in the world. Through my art and personal story, I want to start a conversation on the importance of maintaining and preserving things and places of the past to benefit future generations.
My contemporary interpretations of these places and automobiles will include classic figures, that were at one time sexualized as “pin-up girls” in the hot rodding community. As a female artists building a career in the male-dominated field of automotive paint, my mission is to create an empowered version of the female “pin-up”. The women represented in my work will embody a new place in the ranks of “pin-up” culture; one of class and feminine confidence as they drive their own vehicles cross country. I want the curves of the female figure and the bold lines of a classic car portrayed in my paintings to represent the same definition of their strength, beauty, and timelessness.
If you’d like to see more artwork and stories from this unique series of paintings just click here!
My inspiration for this series stems from WPA travel posters, pin-up nose art, vintage car ads, and my own favorite photos from family road trips. You can follow my mood board with all of these images and more on my Pinterest!
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“She’s Been Everywhere, Man!” Collaborators