Wednesday, 6 August 2014

by Elizabeth Criss

The Supreme Food Court


The Supreme Food Court is painted outside of a school cafeteria, where it offers students a selection of fruits and vegetables that are native to the new world. Michelle Obama, dressed as Rosie the Riveter, flexes her muscle, while Benjamin Franklin reads a newspaper with the headline, "Court OKs Women's Right to Bare Arms." Boy, did I have fun painting this! It is life size.

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About Elizabeth:

I met my first art critic in kindergarten. After painting what I thought was a fitting tribute to a weekend wedding, I was eager to share my vision with my classmates. But instead of displaying my creation, the teacher merely pointed out that I failed to give the bride nostrils. Nevertheless, I continued on, still hoping to be an artist one day.

Unfortunately, I was so fearful of critics, that I hid from my teacher during my first college painting class. When judgement day arrived, I slipped my canvas into the line-up of freshly painted images and ran away. When I retrieved the reviewed artwork (for which I earned a passing grade), I found catharsis by breaking up the painting and tossing it down the dorm's trash chute. A lot has changed since then. Most notably, when I went to enroll my daughter Emily in school, I encountered brown walls, brown floors, brown ceiling, and an acid yellow Formica trim. This would not do for Emily, who has profound challenges and a very limited ability to communicate. It seemed that Emily had brought me to a grand canvas. The walls were screaming, 'PAINT ME!' Luckily, the folks at Lokrantz School allowed me to spend many years embellishing their walls with engaging textures and bright colors. Not only did they help me develop my painting practices, but they taught me to appreciate my critics.

Now in her 20's, Emily's health and care requires more of my time. For this reason, I am bringing my work back into the studio, where I am focusing on smaller surfaces. Time will tell if my efforts are worthwhile. But at this point, I welcome some criticism, so go ahead. Tell me what I've done wrong. I'd love to know what you think.

Los Angeles, CA - United States

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