Saturday, July 31, 2010


Mia Zapata
7.5" x 7.5"
watercolor on paper, 2009

Summer 2010: a brief membership of NetFlix:: Go to instant availability, type music documentaries for your category, scroll 'till you see the title The Gits pop up, and then hit the play button on your screen. First you'll have 45 minutes of awe, then 45 minutes of tears, guaranteed. The Gits will be back in the Top 100 after they were last year a most pivotal musical entry for me. The image above belongs to the Top 100 2009, so I'll have to paint another image. It certainly will be another portrait of their singer Mia Zapata. The text below also belongs to the Top 100 2009. I feel the content even more severely than I did last year. Watch the video and become a better person, we owe it to Mia Zapata.

When a song enters the Top 100 list I often seek out its history, and that of the musicians behind it. As the music touched me one way or another, often the biographies of the musicians or history of a song do that as well. This was certainly the case with the Gits. As I looked for some background to the song While You're Twisting, I'm Still Breathing I came across the tragic story of Mia Zapata, who wrote and sang it. She was 27 in 1993 when she was brutally raped and murdered on the streets of her hometown of Seattle. She and her band had come from Dayton, Ohio, and had only released one album while on the brink of making it big. The aftermath of the crime is as inspiring as her death was horrific. The remaining members of the band, together with luminaries from the Seattle Grunge and Riot Grrl scenes, worked together for many long years to fund the crime investigation for the murder (which was finally resolved in 2003) and a foundation in Mia’s memory. That organization Home Alive exists to this day and teaches women’s defense against predators as well as providing care for victims of sex crimes. Reading the story of Mia Zapata I am filled with grief and I resent that I, throughout the history of my Top 100, have objectified women. I realize I wanted to paint breasts more than that I was interested in their personal and artistic history. Hereby I vow that I will treat each and every person I paint with the respect a person deserves. It’s the year of vows anyway. On my 45th birthday I decided I would be a grown up: responsible, confident, and disciplined.

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