|JaFang Lu "Self Portrait (in a Freezing Studio)" 2009|
Contemporary painter JaFang Lu (b. 1976) studied at the City College of New York and received a merit scholarship to the Art Student's League. She came to Philadelphia to study with Nelson Shanks at Studio Incamminati, where she now teaches. More of her work, both still life and figurative, can be seen on her blog here.
Chilly studios are part of many artist's lives (mine included) but there is an interesting backstory to this particular painting. In the winter of 2008-09 Lu had just returned to Philadelphia from a residency in New Mexico and didn't have a permanent living or working space, nor did she have a lot of money, so she made a deal with a landlord who was renovating a building. "I got the space for very very cheap and the deal was that I agreed to move around as he renovated the building. What an insane idea!!!" says Lu. This piece was completed during the raging blizzard of 2009, a huge snowstorm that pretty much paralyzed the mid-atlantic region of the United States. Lu recalls, " I trudged through the snow to the station to catch the subway ride home [from the studio.] The snow was almost knee deep. The snow storm was so bad that the subway was the only public transportation still operating and the gate to the station was open so commuters could get on for free."