Gina Higgins is a graduate of the University of Southern California Roski School of Fine Art. A native of New Orleans, she grew up off Mulholland Drive in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles. Adept at drawing since a child, her rendering skills were well suited for a career in commercial art. At 17, she gratefully accepted the opportunity to travel abroad to study classical drawing and painting in Europe, and credits the experience as having left an indelible mark on her style, as her illustrations were soon sought after by such clients as Liz Claiborne, Etienne Aigner, Alexander McQueen, MGM & CBS Studios, PolyGram Records, and Sunset Tower Hotel, among others.
In recent years, Gina has emerged as an accomplished figurative painter. In 2009 she turned her passion for avant-garde and French New Wave cinema into a unique style of painting that captures on canvas the more provocative elements of film noir, with her talents as a fashion illustrator strongly apparent. The large scale canvases are beguiling and striking, drawing the observer in, as if walking into a scene in progress. The compositions are emotionally charged, and like the filmmakers she admires, she has infused them with just enough mystery to leave the endings up to the viewer.
Gina is equally known for her unorthodox process. Working in the difficult medium of acrylics, she skillfully applies glazes to produce a luminescent chiaroscuro effect. Juxtaposing the figures against dark backgrounds, she attains a superlative interplay of darkness and light, and employs a bold approach not often chosen by contemporary female painters. Her technique is intuitive. She works at night under halogen lamps and rarely uses traditional sketches, preferring to draw inspiration from music, while reworking the paintings in chalk directly on linen, primed with her own custom blend of Cerulean blue gesso.
Each piece is distinctly different from the next; however, three elements link the work as unmistakably her own…a monochrome palette, exquisite detail, and the portrayal of strong female archetypes in nearly all of her paintings. As a recent Chicago Tribune reviewer wrote, “You will leave her exhibits no closer to figuring out the artist, who almost certainly will have changed course by her next exhibit, but perhaps that is the allure?”
Her restless imagination will no doubt lead her in other directions, but her paintings will always retain the profound emotional power that makes them unique among figurative painters.” – R. Weisberg, MFA, UCSF
Artist’s Official Website: AmericanNoirPaintings.com