Meet Logan Magee, a freshman at The New School, New York City, New York who is majoring in Communications Design. We would like to congratulate Ms. Magee on being selected as one of three recipients of our Frederic Whitaker and Eileen Monaghan Whitaker Foundation Scholarships for the Fall 2017 term. You can read Logan Magee’s artist statement below:
“I have created art all of my life. Even when I was very little I would force my mother to draw smiley faces so I could see how she did it. When I began drawing, I drew girls and boys; their hair was the yellow crayon, their skin was the skin crayon (a crayon that looks like a mix of apricot, white, and tan. Should’ve been named “fair skin”), and the lips on their smiling faces were light pink. Growing up, I didn’t even notice that I was only drawing white people. I had normalized “white” as normal. I had never included myself. As I grew, I studied art more intensely and learned art history. I loved the Renaissance; porcelain white skin in flowing white robes was a common motif that symbolized innocence, purity, and most importantly, beauty.
However, I was internalizing this and applying it to myself. From about fourth to eighth grade, I started to hate my dark, tightly coiled hair, my golden brown skin, and my developing curves. I decided to cut and relax my hair, and I hung out with a mainly white crowd. I also applied this negative thinking to my art. I painted white girls with blonde hair, and rosy cheeks. I remember quite often my mother would ask me “Why don’t you ever paint any black girls?” My response was usually “No reason, I just paint,” but secretly, I was scared to. I neglected representing anything other than European beauty standards. Seeing only white women being the subject of both art and beauty ads made me process “white” as beautiful, and anything else as not.
In the first years of high school, I changed. I started seeing more black women in the arts, like Katrina Andry, Kara Walker, and Lina Viktor. For the first time, I felt compelled to do something about the fact that I had rejected painting women of color. I wanted to paint with more browns, reds, blacks, and bronzes, and I wanted to paint curly hair. I wanted to make my portraits of girls have more substance, and not just be something to stare at. And so I did – and ever since then, I have had the drive to represent what wasn’t shown to me in art class growing up. My work now has a lot to do with gender politics, race, identity, and inward feelings vs. outward appearances.
Moving forward, I have decided that the one of the best ways for me to communicate equal representation is via magazines. I love magazines – I owe a lot to journalism about art, music, and fashion because it helped me discover a good portion of the contemporary artists I know today. One thing I’ve noticed consistently with magazines, however, is the lack of diversity. Black artists, writers, and designers, especially women, are neither featured as often nor as fairly as we should. Therefore, I have decided to continue my education at the New School, and study for two degrees: journalism and communications design. My goal for post-college is to head my own magazine, where I would feature and cover a population of unique artists, intellectuals, and writers of color. My second goal is to continue creating visual content that features a diverse cast, whether that be through performance, sculpture, 2D works, and video. I want to be the artist, the business woman, and the writer that other little girls of color look up to when they need inspiration, when they need to see something like themselves.”