“Looking Good” developed out of my love for old mail order catalog, magazine and newspaper ads from the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s. I was fascinated and initially amused by the language and imagery, and how they preyed on people’s insecurities about their appearance. But the more I delved into this earlier time period, I reconnected with the shame I felt growing up. I had no idea how I was being manipulated by the constant drumbeat of looking good enough – to attract a cool boyfriend and ultimately to get a husband – every woman’s goal at that time.
Let’s face it, you had to be “sexy”! And that meant not having bad breath, BO, being too fat or too skinny, not having pimples, having shiny vibrant hair and gleaming white teeth! If you used the right soap, the right deodorant, the right lipstick, wore the right bra, the right girdle and the right panty hose – you could attract the man of your dreams.
For women, the message was all about having the right meal on the table when your husband came home from a long day of work. And make sure you are dressed in the right outfit to ensure a good outcome for the rest of the evening! Everything in the messaging was about getting and holding “your man”.
For men, there was also plenty of pressure to look good – obviously for the same reasons: sex appeal! No one wants to be with the guy with dandruff or a skinny nobody, when you can be with a “he-man”!
I’ve been working on this series for over 10 years and it has evolved in its scope from collages compiled of imagery and powerful words from selected ads, to mono prints which used those collages as inspiration. Some of these collages were enlarged and transfer to gels which were then applied to canvas or masonite and painted with acrylics.
This series is on-going and more pieces will be added as I create them – a full show will be coming sometime within the next year. I hope you enjoy!