The Discotits Journey
In 2023, I achieved national commercial success in the United States after being chosen to represent Jones Soda Co. for their 2023 Rebel Labels limited edition collection of Pride bottles which feature the work of American LGBTQ+ artists. My work 'Discotits' is now available on bottles in thousands of retail stores nationwide.
In the context of my artmaking practice, ‘Discotits’ is really unique. When I first created her, she was a one-off. I was working on a completely different body of work at the time. She didn’t even really fit that well in my visual vocabulary of styles.
Before veering off into the contemporary, her underpainting was a realistic classically-inspired sketch of a woman from my head. She had no real model reference and was vaguely influenced by Rennaisance depictions of the Greek ideal. I'd recently seen 'Girl With a Pearl Earring' (Johannes Vermeer, 1666) in a new light and liked how the subject was positioned. I also liked how she made direct eye contact with the viewer. That's about all I had to go on.
Likewise, I didn't initially set out to create a narrative on identity and empowerment. In the process of creating four new 'Discotits' pieces in 2023, she’s taken on new layers of meaning as I get to know her better. She’s a little enigmatic—throughout the creation process I wondered who she is, what her story is. Did I interrupt her in the middle of doing something? Why is she looking at me like that? Throughout the process, I was careful to avoid objectification of the subject. I wanted her to feel like a power animal, not a parody of one.
She’s also made me reconsider my position on pop art—I’ve often wondered if it’s still relevant. If so, why or why not? Emphatically, yes. More than 2,000 people were able to view her at the CHROMA Queer Art Showcase public debut of the Jones Soda Co. bottles and her new versions in June of 2023. It was clear the relatability of pop art connected with viewers of all kinds.
Seeing people interact with her, I noticed the audience tended to project themselves onto her, taking away bits of their own truth. It was important to me that we can’t tell where she’s from, adding to the mystery of this woman. How old is she? I don’t know. What time period is she in? No clue.
She could be anyone, and I believe this is why people respond to her so well. The entire conversation around identity imparts something different for everyone. To me, she seems confident, empowered and a little guarded. She’s a little shy, as well. Disdainful comes to mind.
Yet, to others, she may come across as judgmental, self-assured, angry, unsure, or irritated. Whatever it is, the viewer brings this with them. By drawing on the ubiquity of pop art and the work of a well-known old master, I was able to create a new classic which resonates with audiences across the country