Modern Girl
5 in. x 7 in.
Graphite and pastels on prison lunch cardboard
prisoN Artist
2016 Exhibition
Escaping Time, Governor’s Island, NY, USA

Modern Girl is a thought-provoking piece that challenges traditional notions of beauty and sparks conversations about the pressures women experience.

Modern Girl was initially a graphite pencil study, on a small piece of cardboard from a prison lunchbox. However, during the course of the study some erasable errors had occurred. Maybe too many, as C-Note deliberately began to add unerasable color pastels to the work quite harshly. He deliberately wanted to muddy up the essence of beauty. This was done in the name of Art.

C-Note had observed there was no structure to 20th and 21st century art. Grabbing paint out of a paint can and just senselessly throwing it against the wall, was somehow enlightened Art. Juxtapose this with TLC’s 1999, Unpretty. Like it or not, C-Note is in the beauty industry. He observes it, he listens to it, he hears Her voice. This was especially true when his mother’s only biological child, his sister, died at the age of 6 with a brain tumor, and he was 8. His shoulder, as the oldest of 2 boys, and now a deceased daughter was the shoulder that was drenched with the many tears of his mother’s grief.

He also observed the pain of his baby sister go from bad to worse as a child struggling with life, afflicted with a debilitating brain tumor that led to her using leg braces in order to walk. So he had the capacity to comprehend the TLC lyric, “I wish I could tie you up in my shoes/ Make you feel unpretty too.”

Intentionally, not creating a pretty picture, but highly messy, was how he was going to bring order out of chaos, because feeling Unpretty is a very modern or contemporary thing in the hearts and minds of women, just ask Instagram, and its testimony at a congressional hearing, “Here’s How Instagram Harms Young Women According To Research.”

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