Isabella Kelly-Ramirez and The Beauty-Industrial Complex

January 7, 2015 4:18 PM

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"I follow a lot of drag queens on Instagram," says artist Isabella Kelly-Ramirez. "They really know what it takes to be a woman!" Kelly-Ramirez's photo-based mixed media collage, and her painting and drawing as well, expresses an enduring fascination with exactly that -- what it takes to be a woman. Specifically, the effort it takes and the products and rituals of its marketplace. "I collage using images of both men and women, but there has been a feminist stance to all of this from the beginning, because it comes from a place of examining representations of women in fashion and art, and the narrative of what women sacrifice for beauty -- the sheer volume of stuff and attention that is required to be a woman."

Kelly-Ramirez's creative background includes the parade world. She loves a good masquerade, and that certain intimate, artfully scientific way a makeup artist has of studying faces. She is rarely far from a makeup kit. Though on a macro level her interest is in the psychological, emotional, and soci...

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