‘Honey Boo Boo’s Amurrican Starquest’: Nightmarishly Vivid Portraits of Child Beauty Queens

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San Francisco-based artist Ingrid V. Wells takes her inspiration from supposedly lowbrow places, particularly the hugely successful TLC reality series Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. But she’s fascinated with, among other things, young beauty queens, which is why her two recent series, Honey Boo Boo’s Amurrican Starquest and Beautimous, depict the cherubic stars of TLC’s reality franchises in particularly startling ways. “By emphasizing the artificial display of happiness with over-the-top dripping spectacle of paint and well-practiced facial expressions, the paintings critique the type of images that American viewers have become so attached,” she writes in her artist’s statement. “This inquiry into the power dynamics of grotesque performer and entertained audience questions the ethics of fascination.”

Image credit: Ingrid V. Wells

Image credit: Ingrid V. Wells

Image credit: Ingrid V. Wells

Image credit: Ingrid V. Wells

Image credit: Ingrid V. Wells

Image credit: Ingrid V. Wells

Image credit: Ingrid V. Wells

Image credit: Ingrid V. Wells

Image credit: Ingrid V. Wells

Image credit: Ingrid V. Wells