The intersections of art, public spaces, inspiration, and feminism come together in the kickoff of the 2015 MUSE Women's Conference at its 2015 MUSE Art Walk held during the First Friday Art Walk in downtown Bend March 6. From literary figures such as Homer's sirens to "Saturday Night Live" alumna and "30 Rock" creator Tina Fey, art revelers will find 22 heroine-celebrating portraits at Hot Box Betty (903 NW Wall). There will also be information to enter the MUSE Art Walk photo contest, which encourages participants to selfie with the likeness of Jane Goodall and Annie Leibovitz for a chance to win MUSE swag and a 2015 camp pass.
Painter Katie Daisy's prolific work—her licensed work has been reproduced on everything from journals to washi tape and even iPhone cases—feels like awakening from a summertime nap in a field of wildflowers complete with a thermos of chamomile tea and snuggly kittens; her style is, in a word, dreamy. Daisy's muse is Frida Kahlo, the Mexican painter best known for her iconic unibrow and marriage to Diego Rivera, whose unflinching self-portraits made her an emblem of indigenous rights and feminist movements worldwide.
"Frida never needed a mirror or the voices of society to understand herself," said Daisy. "She found who she was by expressing herself through art."
For her muse portrait, Daisy drew inspiration from Kahlo's bravery and perseverance as a woman who endured a lifetime of chronic pain, and often drew from symbolic imagery of her physical and psychological wounds in her work.
"She inspires me to live a daring life of truth and bravery," said Daisy. "I'm encouraged to lean into my pain when it's there, feel it full-being, and always express what's on my heart."
Daisy's original Frida portrait will be on display at COSAS NW (115 NW Minnesota) for the month of March.
According to Bend painter and yogi Sheila Dunn, just as inspiring as her muse was the group of women who coalesced around the MUSE Art Walk project.
"It was so inspiring to be in a room full of dedicated creatives," said Dunn.
Dunn's current work is an expression of color and movement—her wide, multi-colored brush strokes fill the canvas with energy and textural vibrancy. This translates well to her choice in muses, Eleanor Roosevelt. The bold and outspoken first lady is known for her advocacy for women's and civil rights as well as the poor. For Dunn, Roosevelt embodies the spirit of the MUSE conference as a woman whose life was dedicated to social justice.
"My work is typically rooted in personal narratives, so this was a great opportunity to broaden my artistic lens and explore painting as a vehicle for activism," said Dunn.
Dunn's Roosevelt portrait will hang in Bellatazza Café (869 NW Wall St Ste 101).