Whether you've seen them in movies or pictures, or seen them personally, you probably know what a wind dancer is. It's a solemn, happy stick figure that flails about in the wind near a gas station or some dollar store. But Mamie Young saw something more in them: they stand as a comical background in contrast to all of the US's current problems. Mamie draws them inside of these problems as some sort of comical vehicles that tell a story about the tragic events of American life, making the whole image tragicomic, sobering, and current. Behind that stickman smile lies hollowness and anxiety.
Why Can't You Just Pull Yourself Up
100% of the proceeds of that new piece will be donated to @blackvisionscollective to support the BLM movement.
She started drawing them in 2017 when she saw an exhibit in a gallery in San Diego that used them. She realized that "so many people recognize these figures, yet nobody in the art world was using them as characters in a real way to tell a story. So I decided to make art exclusively using them," she told Bored Panda. In terms of how was she able to generate such compelling narratives using only a silly vessel, she admitted "I used my background as a filmmaker to add a narrative to each of my paintings."
I Am Hollow Inside
Mamie Young expressed that she wants the viewer to see a familiar object like this in a different light. "I see myself in them," she confessed, and added "they represent us in so many ways: our relationship with society, culture, and each other. These wind dancers have a complexity in them that I want to express." And she's right: her paintings resonate with current American realities like police brutality, Black Lives Matter protests, violence, poverty, inequality, and vanity. Though her paintings are somewhat poignant despite their accuracy, the artist is also socially responsible. She's going to donate all of the proceeds of her painting "Why Can't You Just Pull Yourself Up" to support the Black Lives Matter movement. Let's just hope that these wind dancers bring about the winds of change.