A sought-after pop artist from New Orleans who’s making her name — among many things — by her prismatic portraits of feminine icons such as Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Audrey Hepburn, Frida Kahlo (the list is extensive and also includes the spectrum of male subjects, from Lil Wayne to Gordon Gekko) has added a Lake Highlands woman to her colorful collection.
If you have been paying attention, you might have already guessed what we are going to say — it’s 2021 Lake Highlands High School valedictorian Paxton Smith, now famous for her unapproved graduation speech lamenting Texas’ then-new (at the time of her address) essential-ban on abortions.
Some Advocate staffers are fans of painter, entrepreneur, bucker-of-the-mainstream-art-gallery-ecosystem Ashley Longshore. While scrolling through Longshore’s latest works, they happened upon Smith’s red-smocked likeness. (And I learned Longshore is the first solo female artist to exhibit at New York City’s Bergdorf Goodman).
At this point, it is unlikely that any amount or form of attention will be of much surprise to Paxton Smith, who told The Advocate she knew making that speech would be risky — both because it deviated from the script she’d turned in to administrators and due to the emotions evoked by reproductive rights discussion, especially in Texas — but thought it was worth it.
“When I gave the speech, I didn’t realize people who weren’t affiliated with LHHS would see it,” Smith told The Advocate‘s Carol Toler. “I’ve been getting hundreds of messages applauding what I said. It’s been shared on almost every platform I can think of. That’s exciting.”
Obviously not everyone loved Paxton Smith’s speech, but she has the support of her family and millions more who applauded the ballsy and effective move.
On her website, the artist Longshore notes her “paintings are representative of the world I see around me.”
Her love of color, life experiences and “things [she] finds intriguing” drive her work. Many have called Longshore the modern/the female Andy Warhol and New York Times described Longshore as an “avatar of pop feminism to thousands of followers.”
The 36-by-36 inch acrylic on canvas entitled simply “Paxton Smith” is available on Longshore’s website. You’ll have to email firstname.lastname@example.org for the price.