Zatara Contemporary

Crissia Vaughn

Growing up on the island of Oahu has instilled within me a deep curiosity towards the intricately organized chaos of natural ecosystems. I've observed that modern cultures predominantly view nature as an unlimited resource and as the "other," "wild," entity separate from our mundane, suburban realities.

Artist Statement:

Growing up on the island of Oahu has instilled within me a deep curiosity towards the intricately organized chaos of natural ecosystems. I’ve observed that modern cultures predominantly view nature as an unlimited resource and as the “other,” “wild,” entity separate from our mundane, suburban realities.

However, while spearfishing, once I dive below the ocean surface, I leave my human identity above and enter into an alien, beautiful, and brutal world. I become another predator on the reef, falling into motion alongside every animal that surrounds me, each hunting for the opportunity of a meal.

Sustainable practices, such as spearfishing, has taught me the direct impacts of my actions and the gravity in the natural act of taking a life to continue living. I crave to share that awareness with my audience by photographing my hunting experiences, then honoring captured moments on canvas at a scale that engulfs the viewer in a sea of intricate detail.

Each painting within this body of large scale photorealist self-portraits tells an individual story and unique experience of my journey as a female hunter within a modern culture that is mostly disconnected from our natural resources. My work explores narratives that question the human relationship with our living resources while highlighting a variety of exquisite species of Hawaii’s locally harvested reef fish that serves to nourish my community.

I gravitate towards realist figure painting because it allows me to utilize technological tools to capture a fleeting contemporary moment then recreate it through the language of the timeless art traditions of the past. My goal is to continue to document my spearfishing experiences, growing this body of work, and inspire a destigmatization of the sustainable practice of hunting while representing the female minority within both the hunting and realist figure painter communities.