For the past 100 days, Airdrie artist Veronica Funk has been busily painting the portraits of women she admires for her “Nasty Women” project – and now that the collection is complete, her pieces will be displayed in an exhibition at Inglewood Fine Arts until May 10.
“Creating each painting was phenomenal, but seeing them as a group is very humbling,” said Funk, who was inspired to embark on the project after seeing actress Ashley Judd read a poem by Nina Donovan – called Nasty Women – at the Washington women’s march in January 2017.
“It goes to show that every single woman, whether you’re a young university woman or you’re a senior, every single woman has an opportunity to make a difference and affect another person’s life in a positive way.”
The project started as a personal challenge for Funk, who said she’d previously completed similar painting challenges like a 52-week project. This project, she admitted, was on a larger scale – twice as many pieces in a shorter period of time. And since this project involved local women who volunteered to be painted, there was added pressure.
“As an artist, you expect certain things from yourself, and you don’t always feel like you meet those expectations,” she said. “Because I know these women, either directly or indirectly, I wanted to do them justice…it’s all about empowering these women.”
Funk selected images of each woman that showcased specific features that spoke to her – the glint in someone’s eye, she said, or the way she was smiling. Since she created the paintings so quickly, she said she wasn’t looking to portray an exact representation, but rather capture the essence of each participant.
“Women have always been near and dear to my heart, especially now with the #MeToo movement – it’s not just about women, but also about the men who support women,” she said. “It’s a world-wide thing. There are changes that need to happen, and I think the only way we can make changes is if each one of us feels empowered.”
Funk said she has received overwhelmingly positive feedback on the project, particularly when she shared the final portrait April 30 on her website and social media. Discussing the response is emotional for her, she admitted.
“It’s really been so heartwarming, just an outpouring of support,” she said. “I think this is the most important work I’ve done to date, but I wasn’t even planning on exhibiting it or anything. It was just a challenge to myself.”
The pieces will be available for public viewing at Inglewood Fine Arts until May 10, with receptions held May 5 from 2 to 4 p.m. and May 10 – Ladies’ Night in Inglewood – from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Select pieces will also be displayed May 11 at Woodside Golf Club for the Amazing Airdrie Women awards luncheon.
“I’m so grateful to these women who shared themselves with me – it’s a vulnerable thing…to see yourself through someone else’s eyes,” she said. “I want to continue painting women, I think I’ve been called to do this.”
Visit veronicafunk.com and click on the link to “100 Days: Nasty Women” to view the series.
AIRdirondack Art Project