Gabourey Sidibe - Portrait by Sam Spratt
A while back, I asked Gabby to come to my studio. Work immediately began and the beginnings of several sketches and pieces started to come together, but I didn’t want to rush the main painting so I shelved it while the usual pattern of clients interrupting personal work took over. Many paintings never get finished or see the light of day, both personal and professional, but Gabby was special. I wrote these notes back during her visit:
Her time in my studio was mostly light, ﬁlled with her bubbly energy as we cracked open some beers, exchanged embarrassing drinking stories, taking group photos as if we’d known each other for more than the actual hour we had, and her trying to convince me that she has an actual medical condition where she ﬁnds everything adorable. You’d be fooled too if you were lied to by an Oscar-nominated actress with her talent. But when I asked her, stripped of any pretension, that if I were to paint her, how she’d like to be portrayed, she said “I don’t really care about how I’m portrayed” and then she paused and continued “I guess … did you ever watch the show Community? Ya know how the school’s mascot is the human being? I mean, I don’t want to be a grey faceless spandex blob like that, but I’d like to just be a human being. Not someone’s message or idea of what I stand for because of what I look like, just a human, how you’d paint me if I were anyone else".