Senior Thesis Spotlight: Ailey Greig

Ailey Greig is a senior, currently working on her Bachelor of Arts, with a focus in painting.  Her paintings, for the most part, fall in the realm of portraiture/self portraiture.  Often the figures are defined by their uncanny surroundings, while subtle distortions in the figures themselves equally contribute to a sense of emotional depth, rooted in the nature of humans and our relationships with one another.

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How would you describe what you’re working on this semester?

My thesis is composed of five paintings. The largest one is 40″x60″, the smallest is 24″x36″, and they all depict a certain different type of relationship. There’s a girl and her dog; the relationship between a teacher and his student; blood relations between two brothers and and a cousin that are in a rap group called Modern Day Peers; girls in a house who have kind of become family.

 How is that different from what you were working on last semester, would you consider it a divergence or an elaboration on your original idea?

More of an elaboration. Last semester was more on couples and individuals and this semseter went more into relationships in general, not strictly sexual.

 Do you have personal relationships with these people, or are some of them strangers?

Modern Day Peers are more acquaintances.  They’re roommates of some friends, and they actually contacted me, so I didn’t know them beforehand.

 Do you paint acquaintances differently than you paint friends?

I think I paint acquaintances a little more clearly than I paint friends, cause I don’t care as much about how they percieve my work, and they also won’t be in my studio as often, telling me what they don’t like.

Does that happen a lot?

A lot, yeah.

How so?

Well with A Girl and Her Dog, the girlfriend of the girl didn’t like the title of the piece because she thought the title, A Girl and Her Dog made the girlfriend seem younger. She wanted it to be called A Woman and Her Dog, so that’s one example.

At what point does portraiture stop being about the subject and start being about the artist and his/her respective vision?

Oh god. I think it’s probably more the opposite. I’ll take the picture based off of what I think they’re relationship entails, and when I start painting it usually looks nothing like what I originally intended.

What’s your biggest struggle you’ve had to work through.

Probably sticking to a time schedule, which I am actually doing a lot better with the second half.

 So you’re recording hours more?

Yeah. Oh, also having my work interpreted differently than the way I wanted it to be interpreted.

You’ve done a lot of both portraiture and self portraiture, what would you say is the biggest difference?

Recently I’ve actually had a really hard time painting my face. I think self portraiture is something that’s so monotonous in some respects, and has no real challenge anymore that I cant really invest in it and do as well with it.

Just because you’ve done it so much?

Yeah, I’m just kinda burnt out on it. And also because originally when I first started doing portraits, I really liked the human face, but I was too nervous to ask people to pose for me, so the easiest thing to do was to just draw myself, but now that i’m doing other peoples faces it’s so much more interesting. I like painting a different nose than my own. Ears are especially fun.

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