Celebrating the Weird: False Perceptions Paintings

in art •  last year

One of the requirements to graduate with my degree in Art was a final exhibition. I worked with several different professors working on this series discussing color palettes, compositions, concept, and technique for my last year of college at Missouri State University from 2012-2013. I had only been painting for four years at this point and didn’t have much of an understanding of structure, color theory, or how to brainstorm but I was decent at copying from a reference. And with the guidance of my awesome professors we pulled together a series that I love.

When I finally came up with a general concept of celebrating the weird, I knew I would need to take photos almost exactly how I would want them to be painted to show my strengths.


I'm so lucky to have willing friends to help!


Brainstorming the content of each piece was another hurdle. After learning different approaches to coming up with ideas, I found using word lists helps me, so I made lists of possible models, settings, and props, cut them up, and put them into bags to randomly draw each scenario. I went through this process many, many times and picked the most interesting and inspiring sets to work from. I also let models choose some of their own props and clothing to add more variation.

Then from photo to paint, the big time investment especially considering I needed these to be large.

My little studio nook as a senior:IMG_0828.JPG

I began working from home more often once I got it paint safe because I couldn’t work past midnight at the school studio and I’m such a night owl. Once my neighbor got a peek in when I was coming out the door, and I'm pretty sure his wide-eyes thought maybe I was a female Dexter. I cleared up any discrepancies and he still supports my work. :)

Plastic Living Room_2013_Christie Snelson.jpg

As per usual, I stayed up all night working 16 hours in a row painting my edges and putting final touches on each painting. I’ve heard the quote “Art is never finished, only abandoned” attributed to da Vinci. While I’m not sure about the claim, the quote remains very true to me. I call a painting done only when I run out of time. I am almost never sleep the night before a show.

Late night bfa exhibtion_christie snelson.jpg

Here’s my artist statement I hung with my work. My advisor had me write eight drafts of this, and I’m pretty sure he’d have me write more if I hadn’t ran out of time. They don’t mess around in art school. (I wouldn’t have it any other way!)

I called it "False Perceptions":

As a living, I work in customer service. The way in which I serve my customers is not entirely important to me as I enjoy the interactions with the variety of eccentric individuals I run into. I am particularly captivated by the man wearing a turquoise bathrobe with a lavender Mohawk or the woman with her face painted like Braveheart. These people, in being brave enough to be their own individual, brighten my world and stimulate my imagination. In my work, I attempt to reflect the curiosity and appreciation I have for these vibrant people.

Because my interactions with my customers are fleeting, I have fabricated characters inspired by them. I chose friends and family that have bold, fun personalities. My models took initiative in helping with decisions on posing, props, and the locations. This allowed for a more humorous scene than I could have come up with on my own. With these scenes, my aim is to celebrate the individual and emphasize the color they bring into this life. In doing so, I hope to encourage others to keep an open eye for these irreplaceable personalities. There may be more to them than what is expected.

It was my first experience seeing the difference between the paintings in my plastic-covered living room and studio versus a gallery wall. It made all of those late nights and paint stains totally worth it.

Senior Exhibition_False Perceptions_Christie Snelson.jpg Brick City Gallery, Springfield, MO

At the opening my reception it was at my pleasure to watch everyone tilt their heads at my intentional skewed perspective, like someone might do if they approached something strange or unusual. Despite the snow and ice in May, there was a great turn-out especially full of friends and family.

Here they are individually listed with their titles. Even those are purposeful hopefully making the viewer reassess the character and recognize our fault of quick judgments.

Harvard Graduate
Snelson_Harvard Graduate - Copy.jpg

Art-making has made me come out of my shell in many ways. While a bit embarrassed at the time, I had a couple people taking pictures of me taking pictures at the gas station and of my buddy and dog dressed as such. The gas station clerks were watching from the window cracking up. My professor also encouraged me to make it more colorful, and despite my lack of confidence I thought I'd try!

Cardiovascular SurgeonSnelson_Cardiovascular Surgeon.jpg

Oh, Daniel. This is a classic. I often get Snapchats and text messages from my friends finding this gem now appropriately hanging in the bathroom of 417 Taphouse known for the self-serve taps.

Medal of Honor
Snelson_Medal of Honor Recipient.jpg

GUYS. My mom posed for this one!

Trilingual Father of Four
Snelson_Trilingual Father of Four.jpg

Sure landed a strange combination of words for this scenario.

Net Worth: $30 MillionSnelson_Net Worth 30 Million Dollars.jpg

Die Antwoord, anyone? My boyfriend at the time even got sucked into the project.

As usual, I’d love to know which one is your favorite, and why if you’d like!

Thanks for looking!

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That is amazing colourful and great... can't wait to see more.... ☺


Thank you! I have plenty to share!!

Wow! Really loved this series of paintings! What a great combination between ludic games and sort-of-realist painting! Keep up the good work... just started following you!


Thank you so much!!

What a fun project. That was a great post -keep up the awesome.


Thanks! I did have so much fun with it. Great memories :)

Thirty million is quite an amount. Ferrreri things.


Haha, right? My model was really into a rapper named Danny Brown, and 30 was some number associated with him. Hence $30 Million :)

your renderings are actually incredible!

luuuuv photorealism paintings...

I'm your follower from now on, and upvoter ;)


Thank you so much! Glad you like them!!

'Medal of Honor' is my favourite because of the alienating effect of the perspective and the contrasts of colours. Love your style, so, maximum up vote and follow.
Thanks for sharing!


Great comment. Thank you! Looks like your an artist as well, and a talented one! Following back :)


Great... Keep in touch!

Amazing work. Twirble impressed !!!


Thanks, Twirble :)

This endeavor reminds me of the type of thing H3h3 does lol.


Lol hadn't heard of him! So bold haha. I see what you mean.

These are awesome, can't wait to see more from your camp. ;)


Thanks! Lots more coming! :)

Love it!
Quite a titanic work, looks so impressive in the gallery!


Thank you! It really was quite the difference seeing them in that setting! Very inspiring.

Awesome, love the scuba in the gas station👌it's a familiar feeling!


I think that one's my favorite too. Thank you!!

Love your work!! Hope to see you in High Fructose or Juxtapoz soon. And if you don't love Die Antwoord something is wrong with you.


Thank you!! I might die if that ever happened. I've been following those magazines for years!

Fantastic paintings. I know that feeling all too well of the paintings finished when you run out of time!


I do life drawing and there's always a fixed time to get the drawing or painting done before the pose is over. And it's always down to the wire putting the finishing touches in in the final seconds. Then it's finished!


Thank you! It's no joke! I'm glad someone relates. It can be maddening!

What a great theme! My favourite is Net Worth: $30 Million almost entirely because of that fanastically creepy shadow! Great paintings!!


Thank you! It was crazy it was there in the reference, I just emphasized it. A happy accident as Bob would say :)


Haha, good ole Bob!

Fresh and fantastic! I especially like net worth 30mil 'cause it's just so possible!
Look fwd to seeing more. Following.


Thank you! And thanks for the feedback! I appreciate it! Glad to have you around :)

Congratulations @christiesnelson
You took 70 place in my Top 100 of posts