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Childhood redux

I wish I had this painting for the Childhood in Decline exhibit at the now defunct Blank Canvas Gallery in New Hope, PA. But I needed to read the owner’s statement for the show to create this painting. She wrote of her difficult childhood, and I have been thinking of it on and off for over a month. I created this painting using her statement as inspiration, as well as the affecting photographs of poor children, Spitalfields Nippers by Horace Warner. A compilation of mug shots by Raynal Pellicer and An Illustrated History of Boxing by Nat Fleischer and Sam Andres, updated by Dan Rafael were also consulted.

Boxing angel Boxing angel (detail)

Annie Jones when young

What must it have felt like to be put on display at such a young age? ‘Used’ is the first word that comes to mind. But I wonder also about what the viewer felt, and feels when seeing a person on display for their amusement. Each time I paint Annie Jones, I think of Manet’s images of Spanish-themed portraits. So this painting has in it some of the colors that I think Manet might have used, as well as the flattening of volume. This is Annie Jones up close:

Annie Jones when young (close up)