Art Cup Project
Artist: Desiree Crossing
Title:Lola & Layla
Medium:Oil on canvas
Specialising in portraiture, Desiree’s sumptuous oil paintings speak to classical painting traditions, whilst embodying an unmistakably modern spirit.
We sat down with Desiree to find out about the woman behind the painting and the painting in front of the woman.
What’s her coffee order?
I like a soy cappuccino with a half sugar… or 1 if I’m feeling naughty.
Where can you view her work?
Follow me on Instagram and Facebook or visit my website. Instagram, Facebook, and website. I have one of my paintings on tour with the Lester prize at the moment and it will be going on a regional tour soon to Yallingup..
Why did you choose this piece of artwork for the cup?
I had a few in mind, this one here was my latest completed painting, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to put this one on the cup but I talked about it a friend and he pushed for me to have this one because it’s his favourite.
I also thought that it was going to be really exciting to have this painting on a cup and get eyes on it. This painting is currently sitting in my bedroom and who knows when it will have an opportunity to be viewed by the public? This way, maybe it can be viewed by the public in a different format.
What appealed to you about this project?
The calibre of the artists involved was really exciting, and it was really lovely to be included in that group.
It’s fun to have the opportunity to have your work presented like this and showcased in a different way. Art should be accessible to all people and not just select groups.
What is the story behind this piece of art?
This one here is of Lola Moore–that’s her stage name–and Layla (the puppet) who has a show that tours the Fringe Show called Pupperotica.
I was influenced by the Grande Odalisque, painted in 1814 by Ingris, whose model was an indentured servant painted as a concubine of royalty. To achieve this shape, a reclining nude, the artist added vertebrae. It is an unnatural image of beauty. Looking at the Grande Odalisque through our eyes today, eroticising slaves is really a poor form. What I wanted to do with my painting was to present a woman in real proportions, someone who’s in control of her sexuality, and retell the story.
When I was trying to get the model Lola into that seated arrangement seen in the original painting, it was so uncomfortable and weird to try to get anything close to it. So this is what a real person looks like doing it.
I think there were a few different aspects that drew me into that painting [Grande Odalisque]. In some ways, it was a spark of inspiration when I had this particular model to work with. Lola is a performer and the nature of her performance is burlesque dancing. And she’s very sexual in what she does, but it’s on her terms.
I also have a deep admiration for the traditions that have come before me as a painter. Whereas I take objection to the sexualisation of indentured servants and distorting feminine beauty, I wanted to nod to those traditions yet rewrite them. Men have written art history. Women could not be present to paint nudes of female models. Isn’t that crazy?
Holding women down from education, and not just women but also queer people, pushing these people down for thousands of years has really stunted human evolution. Just think about where we would be as people if that hadn’t happened.
Why is it important to support the arts?
Cave paintings from 40,000 years ago tell us stories. Art is usually a thing remaining from the cultures and societies that created it. You don’t need to speak the same language as someone to understand their feelings. Arts be it music, dance or other – tells a story and connects people from different walks of life and cultures.
Imagine a society without art and it’s nothing.
Art is for everybody. The State gallery is free and available to everyone to enjoy art on their own terms. Make a start, enjoy street art or borrow a book from the library.