A lot of people ask about the portrait I use on my website and in my social media profiles. It’s actually a painting by Baltimore-based artist and illustrator Deanna Staffo, commissioned by Von Deren Films as part of the production company’s “Beauties” series. Portraits of various creative women are followed by a list of 20 questions that each must answer in words and images. The collection of painted portraits was inspired by the Schönheitengalerie of Ludwig the I of Bavaria. The king was an enthusiastic patron of the arts and a lover of women, which he showcased in a collection of portraits of women he deemed the most beautiful. These idiosyncratic portraits still hang in the Nymphenburg Palace in Munich.
Deanna’s work on this series is nothing short of extraordinary, capturing the mood and artistic nuance of each woman so deftly yet unusually. Above, Susanna LoCascio, founder and mastermind behind Von Deren’s Beauties.
We were lucky to work with Deanna. She is a highly sought after illustrator whose work has appeared in countless magazines and art projects. She’s also a full-time Illustration Professor at The Maryland Institute College of Art. Included are some of my favorites from her portfolio, like “Baltimore” above. It’s rich, detailed but not entirely sweet. Her work is beautiful, but with a little edge, an ever-so-slight uneasiness to it.
Above is my portrait. The dress, the working glasses, the sense of escape and movement were all very important to me. Deanna nailed it.
I love this illustration, “Summer Harvest,” featured in Delaware Today.
A portrait of Sofia Coppola, whose work has much in common with the way I described Deanna’s.
“Self-Reliance,” commissioned for the 2010 BlogHer auction to benefit the Gulf of Mexico.
The experimental filmmaker Maya Deren, who combined her interests in dance, voodoo and subjective psychology in a series of surreal black and white short films.
“Summer Banner,” boy and girl, part of the artist’s personal work.