Ainsley Dack is an emerging artist in Calgary, Alberta who works with digital and traditional mediums. Her portraits express the internal spiritual and psychological struggle that women experience.
She completed her BFA at the Alberta University of the Arts in 2017. Her focus was on silkscreen printing and drawing. Today, she creates digital drawings and continues to experiment with various traditional mediums to create large scale portraits.
She has exhibited in local group exhibitions with the Alberta Society of Artists, and the Calgary Stampede Western Show Case where she received the Best Emerging Artist in Show award. She has also exhibited solo in student galleries like the Marion Nicoll + 15 gallery located inside the Arts Commons in Calgary.
Through my drawings, I aim to show that underneath the stereotypical female persona of being cute, pretty, and harmless, there is a reservoir of repressed traits that pull the strings of women’s psyches. Women knowingly or unknowingly hide under a mesmerizing veil of innocence, fragility, and sex appeal. What lies underneath is the unconscious mind which hosts our true feminine power.
Growing up as a young woman, I have learned that there is a divide between the perception of women and our true nature. I have seen that women are treated as innocent, sensitive, and harmless. This ideal is not necessarily false, but the characteristics that are hidden are far more interesting and powerful. I believe that women have the capacity to be ruthlessly protective of those they love, unapologetically independent, and ambitious in life. The adoring attention young beautiful women receive makes them believe in this false narrative and be naive to their power over others.
The subjects of my portraits are masking themselves with their desired facade. I draw them in fluorescent colours like hot pink and electric blue to show the fakeness of the dreamlike persona they are trying to convey. This illusion is ripped apart or dissolved by the unstoppable essence of her true character, which is revealed underneath. I illustrate this by dripping, bubbling, and melting the false layer of the subject. Underneath, there lies the dark and distorted layer. This is symbolic of the woman's untapped raw potential, both beautiful and terrifying as mother nature herself. Together, these portraits tell stories of being oblivious to your true self, becoming aware, struggling with the contradictions of your character, and eventually letting go of your mask.
I draw these portraits as a means to express my own experience. I hope to inspire others to look inward to discover their true feminine strength and beauty, instead of pretending to be a someone you’re not.