Monday, November 3, 2008

I created the following artworks in reaction to the overwhelming amount of sexism in sports media (sports magazines, sports commentary, conservative talk radio, and TV coverage of sports).  Today, female athletes all too often receive more attention for their "sexiness" than their athletic prowess.  I am both a college athlete and an artist at USC and the athletes I workout with everyday are far from the images of female athletes gracing the covers of popular publications like Playboy, Shape, and Fitness.  Modern female athletes are strong, independent, hard working, and work out for the sake of sport, not for the sake of looking attractive for the heterosexual male gaze.  The emphasis placed on sexual appeal reinforces preexisting notions that a woman's sexual attractiveness supersedes her talents, goals, strengths and ambitions.  I intend to show gender inequities through the eyes of the female athlete.  She is a specific window through which I am examining a broader issue.  

I have explored this concept with a variety of mediums including paintings, drawings, comics, collages, and graphic compositions.  My paintings often heroicize the female athletic figure through bold compositions.  These large oil and acrylic portraits of female athletes demonstrate their musculature, strength, and mental focus.  The comics I create serve as direct social commentary on the inequities women face when entering the athletic world.  I have also employed the use of graphic compositions and collages to incorporate the widespread sexualized imagery of the female athlete into a critical dialogue.  Through this range of two dimensional artworks, I am able to communicate the complexity of the issues surrounding gender and sport.

It is important to note that my artwork does not seek to attack female athletes who have promoted themselves through sexualized imagery like Amanda Beard, Amy Acuff, Danika Patrick, or Maria Sharapova. On the contrary, my work is intended to question the very existence of a system where their posing and exploitation is possible and financially attractive.  I hope that my artworks on this subject will initiate a crucial dialogue about the modern female athlete.  With these steps towards consideration of the female athlete beyond a sex object, perhaps women will be able to professionally succeed in sports without having to bare it all.  
Comic, pen on paper
When going to a sports bar or strip club, men can expect to see traditional gender roles. The dominant male athlete glows on the screens of all the tvs while the female athlete will only find herself represented in an objectified and sexualized form. This comic intends to show that a man cannot support women's sports while objectifying them. The Al character realized he cannot look at female tennis players the same because his daughter, a female figure in his life who he respects and wants to see equal opportunities for, is now also a tennis player. His friends remain absurdly in the dark and continue to promote an antiquated view of women in sports.