Breast Cancer Superhero Portrait Project
Creation of large scale honorary oil paintings of breast cancer survivors as their superhero of choice!
This project began in 2012 when two things happened:
One, I stumbled across the concept of doing "everyday superhero" portraits in the studio after painting my son as Spider-Man. There was something about the energy in that image - you know it's a boy in a mask - but he KNOWS he can do it, he KNOWS he's going to get the bad guy and save the day ---- I realized this was more than one kid in a costume - this was about something in all of us.
Two, it seemed that everyone I knew started getting breast cancer. Not just one or two, but ten or twelve women I cared about were suddenly somewhere between diagnosis and death. Like everyone, I was shocked. I was worried about my friends, but not sure what to do. Then I realized - what am I doing in the studio?
Our goal is to celebrate and inspire the heroic nature of individuals affected by breast cancer. I work with selected women, creating large scale full color oil portraits of them as their superhero of choice. We then share the paintings and stories of the women in hospitals, medical centers and community sites.
It's a intense involvement with each subject, anywhere from three to six months from our first conversation to the last brushstroke of paint on the canvas. We take our time, so they can really enjoy the process of answering the basic question: "If you were immortalized as your superhero of choice, who would you be and why?" It's an individualized journey from superpowers to pose to hair and costume ---
There are six paintings completed so far. They have been on continuous display since the inaugural show at Fox Egg Gallery in Minneapolis October 2013. Everywhere we go it's clear we are fulfilling the mission. People strongly respond to these images of real people they can relate to depicted in their glory - reimagined as playfully powerful and capable of fantastic feats. Many even repurpose their lives after cancer.
I've begun work on the next subject: Anca Sima, the "Butterfly of Rio" --- Anca is an amazing woman - her infectious energy and zest for life infuse everyone lucky enough to meet her. When she was waiting for test results, and she knew they might be serious, she told her husband, "I think I need to go to Rio - to Carnaval -" - he absolutely agreed. She booked the trip with her daughter and seven close female friends. When the doctor gave her the results (and they were not good) - she said, "Thank you doctor - I am going to Rio de Janeiro. When I get back, we can talk about my treatment plan." - she is absolutely determined to get the most life possible in her years!
We chose a pose from her trip to Rio: arms open to the world, wearing the wings she bought from a street vendor in the Carnaval. We asked community members to help create design ideas for her butterfly wings, and I'll be incorporating some of Anca's favorites into the painting. I've done the preliminary drawing and have started the shadow underpainting.
This kickstarter will go to fund my time working with Anca and completing the portrait, equipment, materials, publicity and help with her unveiling in November 2015. It's already underway: now it just remains to raise the funds to complete the work - any funds in excess of the goal will go to fund further portraits in the series.
REWARDS: We have some wonderful greeting cards and 11" x 17" posters of the completed superhero paintings already made and ready to ship to our backers - as well as some great Wonder Woman Katy fridge magnets! At upper levels of support we are also offering some personalized studio visits and pencil or full color oil portraits custom made for you. These could make great Christmas gifts for some special people in your life!
Thank you to everyone out there for your support ----
Risks and challenges
The truth is I'm quite committed to the production schedule for this painting. If all goes well it should be ready for its unveiling in November 2015.
It's always a challenge to complete these portraits as I am a single mom with a special needs child, a full time job and am taking classes both for medical training and painting study with an individual artist's grant I received this year.
However, even with these challenges the project has managed to get as far as it has. As of now, the canvas is built, the source images gathered, the preliminary drawing done, the shadow underpainting started. The show is already booked for a four month stint at Owatonna Hospital Allina as part of their Healing Arts Program in partnership with the Owatonna Arts Center. They have the artist's reception (Nov 17) and other programming scheduled.
Even if the painting is not quite complete for the artist's reception we can add an unveiling event for later during the run sometime before end of February 2016. Or we could book an alternate site for an unveiling here in the Minneapolis area with one of our partner organizations like Gilda's Club.
I think we can make this happen! Thank you for your support!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)