Artist: Ja’Rie Gray
Exhibition: My Complexion
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Max L Gatov East
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Ja’Rie is an artist that came up drawing and painting naturally. It all came to her simply. Her inspiration came from her dislike of her skin color. Being black, she didn’t like her dark skin color and preferred a more fairer skin color.
Ja’Rie uses colorful pastel colors on a large paper. She includes portraits of herself across each art piece. The pieces include her standing around, looking upset. Mirrors surround her with fairer skinned versions of herself. Each piece is highly saturated but there are a few exceptions of sketches of drawings.
Ja’Rie includes bottles of bleach and cans of Comet in her portraits. She looks distraught and in some, she is drinking it. She only wants to rid herself of her darker skin tone. But she wants to make a message that all skin tones should be accepted and loved equally.
I spoke with Ja’Rie and she told me her background story, upset about her skin color, she wanted to change her appearance. She told me, at one point her life, she took a bath, in bleach. I couldn’t help but sympathize as my I can somewhat relate. My girlfriend feels similar, but not at the same level, she believes her dark skin is awful but I embrace her skin color, as should others. I liked the pieces and the message behind, I want to see more from Ja’Rie.