Sarah Britten Art

Paintings in lipstick

How (and why) I started painting with lipstick

Among the many things I do is speaking. Connectedness is a theme I explore in my talks discussing the digital self, online identity and the strange set of coincidences that led to the work at the Pulse of the City exhibition.

Rotten Apple

The lipstick painting started back in 2002. I had experimented briefly with lipstick in 1996, but abandoned it. Years later, I found myself at home alone while my ex-husband was away in the UK looking for work. I had quit my job in advertising to complete my PhD thesis, and the lack of self-discipline and structure was a recipe for disaster. As it happens, my ex-husband was an architect and used thick, shiny cardboard known as Triplex to build models, so pieces of it were lying around. One day I picked one of my lipsticks, applied it to the Triplex, and a new and strange hobby was born.

Dying Rose

For years, I kept to subject matter that used the rather limited palette of lipstick – so anything pink or red, such as roses or chillies – and which allowed me to communicate layers of meaning – pomegranates and Greek mythology; apples and their references to feminine beauty, vanity and Biblical duplicity. (I painted an apple for an art competition while living in Sydney; who knows what has become of it.) It was only when I became involved in the Pulse of the City campaign that I started to paint the city. The work in this exhibition represents a fairly rapid evolution from the very first cityscape I painted in December 2010.

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