Update on Brittany Schall
We’ve long been fans of Brittany Schall’s work, posting first about her erotic figure drawings. Since then, Schall has created an illustration niche for herself, composing what she calls “hair portraits.” She erases the bodies of her subjects, presenting only their hair and sometimes clothing.
In her bio, Schall says:
Initially, my thought process was that if I was able to draw hair in a photorealistic manner, I would be able to pretty much draw almost anything. While creating this series, I showed it to other artists and friends. Unprompted, they openly started making comments like ‘That’s totally a bohemian drop out’ or ‘She’s middle aged, isn’t she?’ and most profoundly, ‘That’s a rich white girl’s blow out.’” People try to identify gender, race, socio-economic status, and sometimes even the actual person (because they assume it’s someone I know or a celebrity). I find it utterly profound how in-tune our culture is to catch the difference between a ‘rich’ woman’s blowout or an ‘imitation’ hair relaxer done at home. It made me realize even the most subtle nuances of hair communicate who we are—or maybe more importantly, who we attempt to be.
With that in mind, I combine the use of hyper-detailed drawing and devoid spaces to give the audience intense visual information without full context. My idea is that the viewer will project their own ideas into the negative space and fill in the blanks without being “spoon fed” ideas. The sensual aspects of my work invite the “male gaze” to the piece. I relieve the viewer of the potential of guilt arising from objectification by making my portraits faceless. Many of my works are titled after mythical or religious female figures that have met unfortunate ends or have been subdued by misogyny or a patriarchy.