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Assignment: This illustration is a portrait that was created to capture the subject matter’s essence. Adia Victoria, a local musician, participated in a live drawing session with the Illustration I class. During the session, Adia sang and shared information about her life. The purpose of the illustration was to capture her unique qualities and tell her story.
Approach: The illustration exaggerates the features of this individual to emphasize the qualities that make her unique. Adia moved in a distinct way while she sang, especially with her hands. Emphasis is brought to her hands to recall this movement as well as her emotion that she communicated when she performed. In terms of her outward appearance, Adia was quite tall, thin and wore all black. To emphasize this quality, her form is depicted as a defined, expansive black shape. The figure references Gustav Klimt's portrait paintings and incorporates his elongated figures and their contrast between a flat pattern and the modeled face and hands. Additionally, Adia discussed her complex relationship she carries with her identity as an African American woman from the South. In reference to her southern roots, patterns found on Gee’s Bend quilts are included, which were also made by southern African American women. Furthermore, in the background, the presence of Spanish Moss Oak trees, which are native to the southeastern United States, further references her home.
Results: The theatrical lighting of the piece as well as the monumental depiction of the figure communicates Adia’s energy and passion she brings to her voice and the unapologetic confidence in which she presents herself. The descriptive elements that reference her southern identity tell more about her life experiences and qualities that define her inner self.