We asked "paintoonist" Serena Corson about her artistic style, her role models, and why it's important to express feminist themes in her work.
Q: Let's first talk the basics. How would you describe your art?
A: I would describe myself as an experimental paintoonist (painter-cartoonist). My art--which ranges from big oil paintings, to photography, to comics--usually comments on society and relationships. I explore how humans interact and connect with one another. I usually try to put a funny or light twist to darker subjects.
Q: Your pieces feel somewhat like a feminist surrealist dream. Could you talk a little bit more about the themes and visual imagery you're working with?
A: I like to be as raw and honest with my art as I can, so I take painful personal experiences or certain moods/vibes and combine them with learned philosophy and my knowledge of current social issues to create my pieces. Being a woman who has experienced a lot of blatant misogyny, feminist themes are inevitable to show. I also try to include themes of spirituality and the sublime into my work. I know that’s a lot; I’m still finding my way and letting the Chaos guide me.
"For Woman Smoking in Moonlight, I actually tried doing realistic colors at first and realized halfway through that [the colors] were very far from that. So, I just went with it. Bright color schemes always find their way into my work."
Q: We read that the matriarchs in your family are your creative inspirations. What connects you to them?
A: My grandmother died when I was about three years old. She was a teacher, opera singer, harp player, published poet, and artist. I recently read postcards she had sent to me from Paris when I was two years-old, talking to me like I was an adult. I still read through her old art journals whenever I can. I feel so connected to her, and I know she’s living on through me in a way. My single mother is the strongest person I have ever met. Her career was in music, and I believe her passion for music translated to my passion for visual art.
Q: Any exciting projects on the horizon you can tell us about?
A: I am interning for a woman named Liz Canner, who is making a documentary about violence on campus and how that correlates to Greek life (fraternities and sororities). I go to Florida State University, where Greek life is a really big deal. I think I might want to take advantage of being in the center of such a massive and sometimes destructive social system. I might try to paint about it or even do some performance art. ◆
You can find more of Serena's work on her website. Follow her on Instagram @serenaviolaart.