Artwork / Empathetic Magic / Elizabeth Fitting In and Standing Out

an asexual woman
Gwenn Seemel
What It Feels Like (Elizabeth Fitting In) and For Me (Elizabeth Standing Out)
acrylic on bird’s eye piqué
each painting 18 inches in diameter

$1800  |  $1800

Elizabeth organized the asexual hangout at the coffee shop once every few weeks. The day I attended, everyone knew I was there only to find someone to paint. I’d been emailing with Elizabeth, and she had warned them about me. As I approached the table, I sensed very little curiosity mixed in with their caution. And they had a right to feel protective: asexuality is widely misunderstood and misrepresented. The conversation did not go well, but it didn’t matter in the end. Elizabeth agreed to participate in Empathetic Magic.

Over the next few months, I interviewed and photographed her many times as we tried to figure out how best to represent her. Unlike most of the subjects from the series, Elizabeth preferred fitting in to flaunting her differences. Not that it was particularly comfortable for her to pretend to be like everyone else. Rather, the alternative was so much more uncomfortable.

You can watch me paint What It Feels Like.

painterly portrait
detail image
painterly portrait
detail image