Guest Blog Post: The Millennials by Helen Werner Cox

Long Beach is an unsung Los Angeles County gem. Along with beaches and the Queen Mary, it’s home to excellent museums, numerous multicultural events, and a neighborhood filled with art-friendly businesses. For instance, Utopia Restaurant goes out of its way to be artist-friendly. Helen Werner Cox talks about her current display there…

Darwin Grey by Helen Werner Cox
Darwin Grey by Helen Werner Cox

I love this age group, and because my daughter is a millennial, I have watched many of them grow and develop into the thoughtful, sensitive generation they are. The diversity of the millennials is part of what excites me about them. I am not interested in stereotypes or extremes; these are regular, interesting people whom I care about.

A collaboration with each model determined composition and color palette. I began to ask them to bring in objects of significance to themselves. We worked together to discover poses that were natural to the person. Often, we discovered the best pose during the breaks when the model was relaxing. This made the positions easier to hold than anything artificial I might have constructed.

Steven by Helen Werner Cox
Steven by Helen Werner Cox

Each work has its own special emphasis. The painting of Steven contrasts the harsh, stark geometry of the background against the fish-like curve of the figure. As the painting evolved, the environment took on a symbolic meaning, representing the stresses that press in on people today, over which they have no control.

Darwin appears in several images, as we have worked together extensively in the past year. It was the first time I worked in-depth with one model, and the relationship will become a template for future collaborations. Through these works, Darwin and I explored his interest in the “fin de siècle,” (late 1800’s and early 1900’s), his identification with both his male and female aspects, and his love for the theatrical. Darwin’s enthusiasms aligned nicely with my attraction to the work of the Post Impressionists.

If you would like to see more work, please click here or or contact me for a studio visit.

The Millennials, featuring intimate portraits of young people, is on exhibit at Utopia Restaurant in Long Beach from July 14 to September 8, 2018.

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