In taking on this project, I wanted to visually highlight the working spaces of women of color. After all, the creative process is sometimes as intimate and private as one’s own identity. The women I highlighted integrate their identity into their work and vice versa. Working Gals is an ongoing series, featuring small moments of people’s creative process in order to encompass a larger idea of what it means to create through the lens of identity.
Taylah is a Brooklyn-based mixed-media artist and illustrator. She is originally from Ithaca, New York and currently lives in Bedstuy. Her work is portable, using an iPad for her illustrations, and features items such as nuts and fruit. This allows her work to be adaptable and grow with the world around her.
"This form of art and expression is not something that I'm drawn to, it's just something that happens. It's like surfing. I try to catch the wave and stay on it as long as possible. Once I'm riding, it’s a stream of consciousness—a wave of consciousness. I recently started using an iPad so that when these waves come, I can capture them whenever."
Bailey is a Brooklyn-based painter. She is originally from Baltimore, Maryland. Her paintings focus on identity, specifically the idea of blackness. That topic is molded in Bailey's hands and and translated through her paintings. These can be seen as meditations on her own insecurities about being black.
"My creative process is pretty slow and introspective. I like to focus in on what is happening to me on a personal and intimate level. Once I figure out what specific part of myself I want to attack and dive deeper into, at that time, I just go in and create"
Who are you?
My name is Bailey Pace, and I am a twenty-one-year old painter from Baltimore, Maryland.
What drew you to this art form?
In the sixth grade, I began to have a serious focus on photography. It became my dream to reach the point in photography where I could make a living off of my photos. I went off to college and made the decision to major in art with photography as my focus. It wasn't until I had to take a painting class that I really realized how much I enjoyed it. [Since then, I’ve] learned not to limit my ability [to] a specific art form and now I am invested in painting.
What inspired this character—the recurrent face—in your painting?
My work is an ode to my deep-seated insecurities that I had growing up as a kid. My paintings [were] not intentionally meant to send a message to my audience. [It wasn’t] until I [explained] the meaning behind my work that I realized that a majority of my audience can relate to me.
What are some limitations to your work?
The limitation I feel I have when it comes to my work is that I have the tendency to become meticulous with [the] way that I execute the product of my paintings. I have made it a mission of mine to attempt to create a more fluid style of work.
How would you say your identity is shown through your work?
...My work [reflects] the fact that without trying, I tend to be vulnerable. The only reason I was not hesitant to paint how I feel is because I have no problem tapping into a sector of vulnerability.
Who are you?
I am a developing person whose identity is in flux. I am a dreamer who’s learning to be a doer. I am a truth-seeker and truth-teller.
How has your upbringing shaped your way of creating?
I have always had an artistic side and always thought that I would have to be practical. Both of my parents did something that had to do with law, which made me want to be practical despite their encouragement of me developing my artistic nature. I was always pushed to express myself creatively, even if I didn’t choose to pursue art completely. The nurture I received while creating continues to help me take risks and try to convey risky ideas.
How has using different mediums helped you express yourself through art?
Different mediums have different restrictions and freedoms. It used to be that the limitations of mediums scared me. Now, turning more to technology, the unbridled potentially is really daunting! The unlimited possibilities sometimes mean unlimited places to start, and to an indecisive person, this can be a challenge. Physical mediums have helped me learn to accept reality for what it is, and digital mediums have taught me how to take advantage and have fun with the things I actually can manipulate and change in this world.
Is there a specific way of creating art that is your favorite?
There’s not a specific way I’ve found. I try not to plan it out too much—otherwise, I feel like I lose the essence. I dump all the contents of the idea out, then edit.
What are some sources of inspiration?
The art of distilling. I want to suck the juice out of every experience and be able to say it in one sentence. Paint it in one stroke. [It sometimes] proves [to be] harder, because when there’s not much there the mind tends to overthink and overdo. Seeing everything and making it bite-sized and palatable is something I strive to do with my pieces.
How do you know when your pieces are finished?
When I keep erasing the last lines I’ve added. Or I’m compelled [to] make [a] copy of my digital rendering in case I make too many marks. Or if I feel the piece is saying too much.
Ting Ting Chen