Painted Ladies


Painted Ladies takes a critical look at the beauty industry in the United States and the intense pressures of conformity and perfection placed on women. On a daily basis, women are exposed, intentionally or unintentionally, to images, videos, and advice through magazines, social media, and television, all on how to look and be beautiful. These ideas of beauty are almost always based on a light-skinned, blemish free, glowing complexion, but beauty is not inherent to one skin tone. Beauty is multi-faceted, ever changing, and as they say, in the eye of the beholder; but the marketing of the beauty industry feeds off of our insecurities, insecurities we didn't even know we should have.

In this series, I utilize the contour method, a popular trend used to achieve the perfect features for the ultimate selfie. The contour method is traditionally used in theater makeup and is a way of creating shadows and highlights with foundations to alter the perception of facial features, allowing for a slimmer, more appealing look. My focus is not on the method itself, as I respect the art of make-up and its power to make anyone feel beautiful. Rather, I show the underpinnings of this method in order to illustrate ideas of standardization and conformity to a visual homogeny.

Painted Ladies accentuates the absurdity of these elaborate standards and the make-up applications used to reach such a narrow ideal of beauty.


Painted Ladies, to me, is still transforming in meaning, and I feel brings up many issues women deal with like, identity, conformity, and beauty standards. My goal with this project is to empower women to be whatever they want to be, whether that be a make-up maven, femme fatale, or an Earth goddess, there is no right or wrong. I'd like to think we are constantly changing and unable to be defined.

The text in the upper left hand corner signifies a specific shade in the Pantone foundation color chart. I utilized Pantone's Color IQ System to identify each person's shade and it serves as that individual's label in the series. My intent is to fill the entire chart Pantone chart with individuals.