One of the most heinous things we have done for the sake of fashion is to bring species to the brink of extinction. I began to think about this as I looked at a Library of Congress photograph of a woman wearing a “Chanticleer” hat of bird and feathers. This reminded me of the atrocious fox stoles I have seen-imagine the whole baby fox wrapped around a woman’s shoulders! Yikes. But, of course once we are in the throes of being fashionable and leading with our vanity, none of these things seem absurd. So I wondered if at the time Teddy Roosevelt was killing hundreds of animals while on safari, (perhaps still fashionable among some?) it wouldn’t be too far a stretch to see human anomalies worn for the sake of fashion. Certainly our curiosity concerning such “wonders” was high in the mid to late 19th and early 20th centuries. And, this gave me an excuse to paint a person with hypertrichosis while I reflected on all of those fashionable women Manet and many French  impressionists painted. I also love to lose myself in various shades of black, brown and gray. The woman’s features are a combination of my grandmother’s and my sister’s.

Woman in Chanticleer hat