Andrew and Obama, 2009 Oil on linen 12 × 16 inches
Andrew and Obama, 2009
Oil on linen 12 × 16 inches

I was asked by Ingrid Sischy in 2008 to "cover" the Haute-Couture shows in Paris, for what turned out to be her last issue of Interview Magazine. I was honored (and surprised!) for this great "assignment," and was able to convince the magazine to allow me to bring (although we paid for our own extra expenses!) Andrew Madrid, my husband, as my "assistant" (although really he came along for just emotional support, and "the ride of a lifetime"!). This was during the time of the Democratic debates for President, and also right on the cusp of the economic crises that we were just feeling the beginnings of the permutations of. Ironically, Andrew and I were living on our credit cards, but being hoisted into this amazing bubble of wealth and fantastic prosperity, despite our own bohemian economic situation. After coming back from these amazing shows of fashion and pomp and circumstance, we would retreat back to this fancy hotel (along with the other working class glamorous models who flew coach back home and lived cheaply after they took off their extreme dresses), and were grounded by watching the debates and the issues that they brought up. It was fantastic to watch Obama, who I was and am for, his intellectual honesty and humanness, in these debates, especially at the time, as he cut through the pomposity of the world that we were in Paris, and told it "like it was." I painted this retroactively after he already became President, remembering all this, during a time that Andrew was extremely sick, and part of my emotional motivation was caring for him through painting, while he was at my side in bed sleeping, whilst also thinking about the bigger picture, grateful for our environment of our world of our apartment in New York and our life together, but also the bigger issues of the current state of politics, and surviving through the ensuing time of economic crises, hoping that Obama and his team could help to drag us out of economic depression, and for the act of painting to give us some catharsis during a time where Andrew was feeling bad and I was doing my best to help him (and myself) through our current situation. Of course, I love Van Gogh, and the paintings of his room, and felt that hopefully this work could also emulate the ultimate love for this room and the hope and aspirations that ultimately it could symbolize; that I hope is brought out in the painting.