Erica Vazquez is a cutting-edge artist who has created something very special with her latest piece. The Huntington High School junior has the mind, eyes and hands of someone with an amazing gift and she’s using it to generate discussion.
Ms. Vazquez visited the Heckscher Museum and studied some pieces in its collection. Artist Jon Whitcomb’s The Telephone Call caught her attention and was a source of inspiration. It’s an opaque water color on board and measures 11½ by 16¾ inches.
“Jon Whitcomb’s The Telephone Call is one of many images he created portraying women as idealized versions of what some thought to be particularly beautiful or attractive,” Ms. Vazquez said in an artist’s statement that accompanies her work. “His images show women with perfectly applied makeup to cover up their flaws or to highlight their most desirable features. During the time in which Whitcomb created his works it was deemed appropriate that only women use makeup in this manner publically.”
Ms. Vazquez has studied with high school art teacher Kasmira Mohanty. The teenager worked hard to understand where Whitcomb was coming from so she could take her own art in the direction in the direction she desired.
“The 21st century ushered in a new way of thinking with the help of the LBGTQ community,” Ms. Vazquez said. “Their steadfastness made it acceptable and even celebrated for men to wear makeup, whether it is for show or to wear in everyday life. It has become clear that women aren’t the only ones who enjoy the benefits of ‘putting on their face.’”
The junior worked many long hours perfecting her skills and she went about created the piece she conceived in her mind’s eye.
“My piece Cover Boy features Manny Gutierrez, who is one of YouTube’s most popular male beauty bloggers,” Ms. Vazquez said. “He is a gay man who advocates using make-up for anyone who chooses to do so. To honor this evolution I created a portrait of Manny Gutierrez in full make-up. Though my chosen technique is different from Whitcomb’s, both artistic eras depict the ‘ideal women’ and in Manny Gutierrez’s case the ‘ideal man.’”