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Vices of Gardenia: Heroin


Mixed media on canvas
12" x 12" 


This piece is dedicated to the painfully beautiful life and voice of the famous 1930s jazz singer Billie Holiday. This amazing artist put her heart and soul into her music but became tangled in the vices that come with fame. In this case, her vices were abusive men, drinking, and heroin. Each piece has cut out lyrics from her songs that embody one of her addictive vices laid out in the shape of a heart. The gardenia in each piece represents BillieHoliday. 


During the later years of her careershe started wearing a white gardenia in her hair. According to Carmen McRae, friend andAmerican jazz singer, Billie burned her hair once with curling tongs just before she had to go on stage. So Carmen went out to buy some flowers to put them on Billie's head to cover up her lost hair. 


Her soothing melancholy vocals have provided me comfort over the years and melted my heart into a puddle of mush. Give her a listen if you haven't heard of her, especially on a solo night alone.

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