SPF15: SPF or Sun Protection Factor refers to the theoretical amount of time you can stay in the sun without getting sunburned. For example, an SPF of 15 would allow you to stay in the sun 15 times longer than you could without protection. But in reality, it’s not quite so straightforward. A multitude of factors affect how well you are protected from the sun.
“I used to stare 15 times longer than usual to those subjects I wanted to paint, considering them seriously as to wanting to protect them and keep them safe on a canvas for a lifetime, and I want every spectator to feel that same protection factor”.
Even though her approach to the subject matter varies, she shares an interest in representing a banal world while at the same time upending our understanding of it.
Walking the streets and beaches as a constant observer, Vega captures fleeting impressions of the less spectacular occurrences of everyday life on film in order to portray these images on her canvases. In a society fascinated by and suspicious of the concept of “truthiness” — a visceral belief that something is true despite an absence of evidence — it is not surprising the veracity of her representations would be regularly undermined. Accentuating our unease, Vega manipulates her subjects in order to convey their own brands of bizarre reality. Subjects portrayed in: Summer Babe, King of the Beach, Sunkissed, Hot in Herre,Blister in the Sun, Trap Queen, Lucky 13 and Paradise II’s underwater abstraction are plucked from life. The departures Vega makes from perceived reality create a figure from the pictures she takes such as: revealing the perfection of a woman’s torso, suspending a strand of hair in motionless precision, capturing otherwise innocuous subjects and laying bare their undertones. Simple compositions, vivid colors, luscious surfaces along with subject matters that are curious, sexually charged, or simply beautiful draw viewers deep into her not so imaginary world. Once there, the provocative narratives force us back out, disturbed by what had just intrigued the viewer. These competing sensations are at the core of the power of these paintings which allow them to stay perpetually dynamic and exciting.
Her compositions might seem shallow but tenuous, as in Those Hazy Lazy Crazy Days of Summer. Most of Vega’s paintings come from either pictures she take herself or from social media. Aspirations for over-the-top lifestyles show no signs of abating and social media flaunts an endless parade of flawless self-presentation. The distance Vega creates between the real world and the altered truths leaves us uneasy. We recognize ourselves, our desires, in these paintings, a funhouse version, warping our familiar comforts into something disturbingly revealing. Vega’s process has always begun with academic painting techniques that have fallen mostly out of favor in recent decades. Alongside her bold use of these old-fashioned styles stands her interest in the painstaking skillful labor while approaching the meticulous rendering of hundreds of individual strokes. Her method challenges contemporary trends which are characterized by cool, conceptually grounded processes, casually haphazard abstraction, and expressionistic figuration. Vega’s early figurative paintings are indebted to John Singer Sargent’s (b. 1856). But, Vega’s fixation on beauty manifests not in such exaggerations but in her fastidious process, so intense it verges on embarrassment due to the time and labor spent, as well as her content. Her water abstractions, subjects, perfectly sculpted bodies, sun tanning are so simple that her intense focus on them can seem perplexing, but also dryly and darkly humorous. This accentuates the peculiar nature of these otherwise quotidian subjects, each of one creates a perception of reality sitting firmly in the in-between space.
Vega wishes to remain a classical artist within the figurative tradition, exposing the modern aspects of her world.