Last year in the late summer, I had the pleasure of having Calpernia Addams over at my place for a photo shoot. I had been approached by Lenora Claire earlier in the year about doing a solo art show in Los Angeles, to which I immediately got together a list of Los Angelinos that would fit perfectly in the show. Generally for the most part, I tend to celebrate the city that I show in with a hodge podge of my own work, but also a gathering portraiture work of that cities talented entertainers. Calpernia, Deven Green, and Jackie Beat were the first to come to mind.
Calpernia Addams was the reality TV star on LOGO’s Transamerican Love Story, and is a celebrated author, musician, activist, and artist who, while from Tennessee, now currently resides in Los Angeles. Needless to say with these accolades, I was a little intimidated to meet her.
When we did meet, she completely blew away my expectations.
One thing about Calpernia, is that she is absolutely mesmerizing. And I don’t mean just beauty. Her whole personality just radiates the room and everything around her. And on camera, it literally took 5 shots to get the right picture.
I picked out the best photo of Calpernia to work with and worked on the layout and pattern. When I looked at the pose, I just automatically thought California Boardwalk, Palm Trees, Patrick Nagel, 1980’s, and the Beverly Hills Teens Cartoon. Even though Calpernia was such a Southern girl, I couldn’t help but portray her in this manner. So I researched the colors and ideas around the themes I wanted to go around, and came up with my favorite and brightest paint, which was Fluorescent Chartreuse, and matched against double whitened magenta. This pattern and color choice spoke out to me to Calpernia, because it not only represented the feeling of the 80’s, but also paralleled her bright aura.
These are like invisible conversations that I have between myself and the canvas, such as I had with Calpernia’s picture. When I look at a portrait, and see the layout, the patterns will start forming perfectly in my head. Then the words of colors start popping in my head and everything just melts in this cohesive statement.