In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Angela, Agnes, Esther, and Ivy
  • Amy C. Evans (bio)

Pearl spiked her drink.

And then I made a painting about it.

I like to think of my paintings as portraits, each one a document of a specific moment in someone’s life. But the people are strangers, and their stories are told in my imagination.

It all starts with an object. I’m constantly seeking out vintage packaging, fabric, and accessories to illustrate the lives of the people—mostly women—I want to introduce to viewers. When seemingly unrelated objects fall next to each other, they add meaning to the mundane and become unique portraits, the individual elements coming together to offer a peek into the conjured lives of my motley cast of characters. I feel a kinship with these women—all strong, independent ladies who might be just a little bit set in their ways—and the titles of the pieces offer glimpses into their oddball thoughts and routines. (Of course, Pearl likes bourbon with her Tang.) I gravitate to food-related packaging for its connection to another era—one of cheese-laden casseroles, mayonnaise-drenched salads, and strong drinks at lunch. These gals cook from cans and boxes so they can spend their time on other, more important things.

My home studio is full of vintage trinkets and treasures that find their way into my paintings. The rusty root beer lid from a barbecue joint in Tennessee, butter packaging from New Orleans, or an oyster shell I slid into my pocket on a trip to Florida are the kinds of things that are tucked into the nooks and crannies of my creative space. Some items get recycled and crop up in multiple paintings (I’m particularly fond of rabbit’s foot key chains), creating a personal iconography that I rely on to help tell these stories.

The finished paintings are objects in themselves. All of my portraits are done in acrylic on wood panels and finished with a coat of varnish, adding depth to the image and making the object more durable—like a final coat of nail polish.

I’d like to hang out with Pearl, wouldn’t you? [End Page 8]

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Agnes loved combing mayonnaise through her hair curls, 24×24”, acrylic on wood panel, 2014.

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Pearl spiked her drink, 11×16”, acrylic on wood panel, 2012.

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Marge had her usual breakfast, and then she took her usual measurements, 24×24”, acrylic on wood panel, 2014.

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Vi went home to celebrate, 16×24”, acrylic on wood panel, 2012.

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Esther set her hair before massaging her feet, 24×12”, acrylic on wood panel, 2014.

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Angela ran a bath, lit a cigarette, and read some poetry, 24×12”, acrylic on wood panel, 2014.

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Amy C. Evans

Amy C. Evans is an artist and independent documentarian based in Houston, Texas, and served as the oral historian for the Southern Foodways Alliance for twelve years. Whether picking up an old lard can at an antique mall and wondering about the life of its previous owner or interviewing a soul food cook about his signature sweet potato pie, Amy is constantly curious about the lives of others. She also happens to appreciate a good meringue and can never eat too many oysters. You can see more of her work at



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pp. 8-14
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