LOOK: Solenn Heussaff finds artistic inspiration in ordinary people
The ancient Greeks long believed that artistic inspiration came from the muses, who were in turn bestowed by the gods, and these muses’ influence manifests in the works of the world’s greatest artists. Andy Warhol had Edie Sedgwick as the superstar behind his paintings, Frida Kahlo’s greatest muse was arguably herself, while Vincent Van Gogh was so moved by his mystery muse that he severed his ear and gave it to her as a gift of flesh.
For social realist artists, however, inspiration takes a different form. It doesn’t just stand for beauty’s sake, but also as a critic and bearer of social consciousness, unsheathing the subject in all its glaring truths. When it comes to multi-talented Solenn Heussaff’s paintings, for example, she finds artistic inspiration in ordinary people.
“If you know me, you know my inspo comes from the people i come across everyday. Beauty amongst the chaos,” wrote Heussaff on her Instagram page. “The reason my last paintings touched so many people was because they were based on reality. A reality we are afraid to confront.”
In Heussaff’s picture, she is shown to be surrounded by impoverished women belonging to the Badjao tribe, who she found roaming around the red light district.
“They asked for a photo and followed us around most of the night just happy for that shared moment,” added Heussaff. “It really doesn’t take a lot to make people smile. If we could just all help each other more.”
She called the picture a memory she needs to paint, and set to work on a blank canvas.
“Time to write another story,” wrote Heussaff about her latest painting. “This one will be a long one. More inspired than ever for this one…”
While the painting stands unfinished, some of its subjects can already be identified, such as a man and a shirtless boy sitting on the ground, and an old woman with a barefoot child clinging to her skirt. JB