February James


watercolor and ink on paper
16 x 12 inches

As a makeup artist, I was always fascinated with these actors and musicians and how as I’m stripping away all their insecurities, they begin to reveal private things about themselves. There’s always something about the duality of self and what’s hidden. – February James

By channeling the emotional weight of black subjects embedded in her subconscious, February James captures the essence, rather than the likeness, of family members, friends, and acquaintances, as if erased by time. In this dream-like portrait Seeing Not Watching, James depicts a subject with an egg-shaped face and watery eyes. The circular shapes around the eyes suggest the viewer sees only a pale gray mask, unable to see what is hidden beneath. Born in Washington, DC, James relocated to Los Angeles in 2007 and received a BFA from the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena. James’ work is in the collections of The Studio Museum in Harlem and the Rubell Museum.