Final LouvreAphrodite and Grace AproditeLouvre Aphrodite and Grace Aphrodite, by Grace Graupe-Pillard, from her “Grace Delving Into Art” series. (Photo: Grace Graupe-Pillard.) 


Grace Graupe-Pillard  is an artist whose practice includes making drawings, paintings, photographs, installations, videos, Internet-based artwork, and large public sculptures. In a two-part article for Women’s Voices, writer Suzanne Russell focused on Graupe-Pillard’s recent series of composite photographs that insert her naked image into well-known artworks (see the photo above). This is her response to our recent March Challenge,” in which we urged our readers to find ways to bring some change—however minimal—into their lives.


“Today I am challenging myself to do the very things I did not have the courage to ‘fail’ at in my youth.”

I am a visual artist who has reached an age that I never thought would come to pass—being classified as a “senior citizen,” complete with Social Security, Medicare, and the discounts accorded the elderly on mass transit, movie theaters, and museums, as well as the 10-percent-off-on-Tuesdays “specials” for retirees. Though I welcome those perks, I am not old!  Not me!  I am as youthful as ever, as curious as ever, as passionate in experiencing the drama and vicissitudes of life as ever. YES, I am at “the top of my game—ironically, just when I now accept that there is an endpoint to this haunting journey called life. Psychological barriers hover before me, nagging at my eternal inner child: Hurry up and complete projects; wrestle with the unknowable, feeling as though one day soon, as the finality of time lurches towards me, I must crawl my way through those curtains—which eventually will become mountains—that the future is slowly building to block the arteries and passageways that I have been breathlessly moving through.

I recently began writing movie and art reviews, making and editing videos, challenging myself to do the very things that I did not have the courage to “fail” at in my youth, but had secretly dreamed of undertaking. The thread of ideas that has run through my artwork has now expanded into moving images; playful—yet quite serious—ransacking of Art History, altering iconic imagery to include women’s voices and bodies; screams of pain at the loss of those I have cherished; dancing naked to the a cappella music streaming in my head; and railing against the forces of injustice and the ever continuing collapse of the humane treatment of our fellow human beings.

My paintings now have the maturity given to those who allow themselves to collaborate with the medium itself; to create a dialogue with the canvas, and to accept the interaction that occurs between the paint, the outside world, and delving into the truthfulness of one’s self.  After many years of effort I am discovering that this wonderful excitement and tedium finally pay off in a tangible way. My eyesight might be getting weaker, but I “see” better than ever. That is not to say it is not difficult. The challenges will, I hope, always exist, and understanding and compassion must remain in the forefront as our vision deepens with dusk.


Join the conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • grace graupe-pillard March 16, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    Anne – Thank you for writing a comment.I have been placing myself into art historical sculptures for the past 2 years and there by changing the context of the work. The whole series is on my website:

  • Anne March 15, 2015 at 11:51 am

    I love the completion of the sculpture by Grace G-P herself. She has the perfect tilt of the head and the continuation of the right arm is a challenge to the eye. How did she do it. Believe me, I am very aware of how bodies fall into their natural positions as I have spent my life in the world of dance and aesthetics. Congratulations,
    Have a good week,

  • grace graupe-pillard March 14, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    Miriam – Thank you so much for your enthusiastic support. Much appreciated.

  • miriam brumer March 14, 2015 at 8:29 am

    Dynamic and forceful statement – full of energetic resolve – wonderful to read!

  • Miriam Brumer March 14, 2015 at 8:26 am

    A very forceful and positive statement. The announcement that you “challenge yourself to do the very things that I did not have the courage to “fail” at in my youth” is a wonderful one! I’m impressed by the way you confront the idea of aging head on and then state clearly how you are proceeding in a vibrant, dynamic and totally energetic way to pursue your art and investigate all the things that interest and intrigue you! Terrific!

  • grace graupe-pillard March 12, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    Sandy – Hope to always try to be honest – Thanks as always.

  • grace graupe-pillard March 11, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    Patricia and Irv – Thank you for your words which continue the dialogue.

  • Irv P. March 11, 2015 at 10:28 am

    First thought – A wonderful way to approach old age and art.

    Second thought – A wonderful way to approach any age and any endeavor.

  • Patricia Mason March 11, 2015 at 9:06 am

    Grace,so well put. I feel as I age I have so much more to give, and I don’t worry about the time I have left, I just want to fill each day with the beauty and love that is around me. As my teacher, watching you has give me the ability to see so much more. Thank You.

  • Sandy Gellis March 9, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    Touching, and honest, a very good if brief read……….nice to see.

  • grace graupe-pillard March 8, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    I am touched by the lovely responses. Thank you Suzan, Marcia and Mechele.

  • grace graupe-pillard March 8, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    Thank you Roz and Toni. I appreciate that you took time to write a comment.

  • Toni Myers March 8, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    Thanks, Grace. I love your “Grace Aphrodite”

  • Mechele March 8, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    Grace is not only a gifted and insightful artist, but also an inspirational teacher and an extraordinarily warm and kind human being.

  • Suzan Globus March 8, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    Perhaps your compassion that imbues your work and your approach to life influences your reaction to those who may judge you and gives you the freedom to experiment.

  • Roz Warren March 8, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    “My eyesight might be getting weaker but I ‘see’ better than ever.” Well said!

  • Marcia G. Yerman March 8, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    Thanks for this honest and insightful piece.

    Society needs to reconfigure how to appreciate the richness of experience those who are older have to offer.

    Your art is challenging the status quo around ageism, a much needed conversation.