The title of this fantasy series, Urban Legends, gestures towards the multifaceted role that imaginary potentialities play in shaping cultural identity. Just as the idioms “urban myths” or “urban legends” refer to communally shared stories of questionable veracity, my series presents narrative scenes within fictitious settings. When interpreted denotatively instead of idiomatically, however, the title elevates the function of fantasy to a kind of contemporary myth-making; it reclaims the allegorical tropes of legend with all their iconic influence. Each major piece in Urban Legends is based on a fantasy scenario provided by the subject of the painting.
As a psychological phenomenon, fantasies are at once indulgently solipsistic and potently discursive. They are both an expression of individuality and an extension of social and historical realities. For the paintings within this series, the fantastical imagery seeks to re-appropriate archetypal iconography, while the traditionalist style provokes a dialogue with the history of commissioned paintings, which have so often served to enhance the status of the subjects portrayed. In Italian art dating as far back as the late Gothic period, it was commonplace for patrons to be inserted into the mythical and religious scenes they commissioned. Responding to this longstanding tradition, my paintings are unapologetically epic tributes to those whose stories speak to contemporary issues and identity politics.
Two works have thus far been completed, and this series is currently ongoing.