Evanston-based artist June Ahleman is best known for her realistic portraits and mixed-media pieces, most of which aim to explore different aspects of identity. June is currently attending school at Chicago Waldorf High school.
By focusing on portraits and the human body, she is able to effectively explore parts of identity not directly connected to the human physical form.
I spend a lot of time thinking about people, and sometimes luck.
When I was younger I thought about the paintings my grandma offered me in her jade-clad hands. The promise of good luck and happiness was enough incentive for the simple bok choy painting halfway unrolled, unbound by yellowed rubber bands to capture my attention. Now, as much as the paintings in her hands, this interaction is art. Art is not only creating, but sharing, receiving, and responding. This exchange is what I find fascinating.
Most of all, people are art. The work I make is a reflection of people. The way a stranger’s nose lifts from the bridge and droops toward the lips propels me to paint. The planes of faces and shadows of form pull my fingers towards a brush. I think about how each person I see has an identity. I think about how each person portrays their sense of self to others. I wonder if I can portray their sense of self in just a portrait.