Slideshow: LaShonda Cooks ’10
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while I was taking a drawing class at a local community college at the urging of a local arts leader. She said, “If you want to be serious and get into galleries, you need to take a few classes.” So for about two months, every Monday after work, I studied the fundamentals of sketching. One day in class, while flipping through magazines for source material, I stumbled across the most mesmerizing image of a ballerina in all her glory. I had to try to capture that essence on canvas. With my professor’s blessing, I took the magazine home and painted
. Every time I see the dancer, I feel just as unstoppable as I imagine she must have felt as she glided across the stage.
Weak yet strong. Beholding and beheld. Protective yet vulnerable. I love the nuanced stare in
I’m a huge fan of
, the story of a trio’s bumpy trek to stardom. The reference photo for this piece showcased the personalities and underlying power struggle within the group.
reflects my obsession with dance and my own personal fantasy of being dipped and spun by my love. It hasn’t quite happened yet. The dancer’s complete control of her body and ability to lose control make her my alter ego.
I was first introduced to the painter Frida Kahlo in my high school Spanish class and immediately fell in love with her spunk, which defied the odds. But I wanted to paint the side of Frida that the public rarely saw. Instead of highlighting her defiance, the reference picture I used captured her in solitude. I found an old black-and-white photo of Frida with her head in her bejeweled hand and wanted to bring it to life on canvas.
Eartha Kitt is my historical girl crush. We look alike, which helps. She was smart, sexy, and sassy and embodied Catwoman so well that I wanted to depict her in mask and costume.
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