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The Ugliest Woman in the World

When I was at my busiest in the 70’s and 80’s, I would occasionally take a little time to do a personal project. I used to call them “suites”. They would be a small set of linocuts on some subject that interested me at the time. In truth, I wanted to periodically break from having to work for an art director and fulfill the expected results in a manner that would be appealing to a large audience of readers. I was, of course, mainly working for magazines and newspapers. With these personal projects, I could be my own art director and BOY did I give myself a lot of freedom! I didn’t intend for anyone other than myself to see them so I could break from my usual style a little. With my “suites” I could stretch my creative, more “abstract” muscles a bit.

The subject that got to me the most was the “World’s Ugliest Woman”, Julia Pestrana. The backwards “S” in the linocut was an honest mistake I made in the cutting… I decided to leave it in. I think it’s my favorite part of the picture. Julia was from a tribe of very short Mexican Indians. In her life she was exploited by an agent who married her and toured her around the world. She was presented before the public always beautifully dressed in bright dresses. She had children …

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