This work was inspired by the lives of real people from history. For this show, I researched the New York Times from 1880–1910, and found myself drawn to the peculiarity of certain women, and their fleeting narratives and lives. From these articles, and my other research of New York City at the turn of the century, I tried to reconstruct the aesthetic of the period and each woman’s personal and historical circumstances. The show was titled “Eccentric Misfits and Uncommon Characters.” Each piece is accompanied with a copy of the article from which it was conceived.
The average height of each character is about 15 inches tall. They are entirely made of paper that I have dyed, painted, and manipulated to look authentic. I also selected a color palette to reflect the historical period, in hopes of bringing the viewer back into the streets, houses, tenements, and storefronts that these characters inhabited.
The theme of this group of work was “The Artists’ Muse.” I wanted to have a broad historical range, to provide an overview of the differing and convergent relationships between artists and their muses. I wanted to create the illusion that the muse has just left the artist’s studio, or has just stepped out of the artwork. The painting that inspired each piece is mounted and framed, standing behind the artwork. The fifteen-inch figure—with clothing and various accessories—has been recreated in paper, with every possible detail.
In my artwork, I want to create the illusion that the muse has just left the artist’s studio, or has just stepped out of the artwork. The painting that inspired each piece is mounted and framed, standing behind the artwork. The fifteen-inch figure—with clothing and various accessories—has been recreated in paper, with every possible detail. With this group it was necessary for me to explore new ways of replicating costumes in paper. It was a challenge, but one of the most enjoyable parts of the process. I also added other accessories that were present in the painting, or in the setting in which it was painted. I took some liberties with artists like Picasso and Modigliani, using my own little visual cues. I made great efforts to create a sense of connection between the original painting—with its distinct historical context—and my own work. Each piece is accompanied by a written biography of the muse and her relationship with the artist.
It’s my goal to give a voice to an overlooked component of famous paintings, and through my artwork, illuminate some of history’s forgotten subjects. I hope that the viewer is not only moved by the intricacies of detail that I put into my work, but will learn something about the women who inspired, nurtured, and loved the artists who created some of the most beautiful paintings every made.
Click to View Muse Descriptions: Pablo Picasso’s Muse – Dora Maar, Manet’s Muse – Victorine Meurent, Marc Chagall’s Muse – Bella Rosenfeld, Rembrandt’s Muse and Wife – Saskia van Uylenburgh, Aline Masson Muse – Raimundo de Madrazo, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Siddal Muse – Dante Gabriel Rossetti
This show drew from the life and cultural setting of giantess, Elizabeth Lyska, who became famous in the late 1880s. Born in a small and impoverished Russian village, Elizabeth started growing rapidly at the age of 4, and by the time she turned 11, was well over 7 feet tall. After the death of her parents, her uncle became her promoter and arranged tours for her throughout all of Europe. Wherever Elizabeth traveled, she became the center of attention—to scientists, suitors, and pedestrians—for she was not only famous for her size, but was also considered very beautiful. Made completely out of paper, Elizabeth stands at her actual height of 7’2”. Surrounding her are the many relics, toys, and keepsakes that she accumulated over her life: Each piece is accompanied by a narration—fabricated by stray facts from newspapers, books, letters, and diaries, and written by her son, Tynan Kogane. With the fragile beauty and reference that only paper can properly evoke, this show recreates the splendor and aesthetic themes of an era.
New York Criminals 1880-1915
This group of art is generated from the stories of real people who committed crimes, as reported in the New York Times between 1885-1915. Each rogue is captured entirely in paper and stands 12-14 inches. They are sold accompanied with a copy of the original article.