The body of work titled Traces, is a record of people from our contemporary society in Los Angeles.
Following with the trajectory of American Portraiture, the process of painting these individuals emphasizes
color symbolism to both reinforce and subvert social archetypes. Techniques such as color zoning,
emanation, and perspective support the unreserved, almost crass, handling of paint on paper; thus
allowing an intimate view of a form that references a particular identity and simultaneously traces a
general social archetype.
Constantly being around people is a biproduct of living in this metropolis. Due to this, people are hyper
aware of their physical appearance and of the way they project themselves. My attempt is to trace the
nuances of these identities through portraiture i.e...capturing their specific wardrobe, hairstyle, etc.
Combining these nuances, I sensitively capture the gesture of the person and deliver my psychological
interpretation of them. I draw inspiration from different periods and artists of American Figurative painting
such as: the Bay Area Figurative Movement, John Singer Sargent, all the way back to artists like John
These portraits do not depend on rendering techniques to communicate the essence of a person.
Instead of relying on a facial expression I often deface individuals and emphasize other aspects of the
composition. I depend on color expression over light logic and use invented color for skin tones to put
emphasis on other visual cues that might allude to the persons' ethnicity or race. I am eager to archive
the social identities of our generation as an American artist in the 21st century.
© 2016 Cynthia Lujan All Rights Reserved.