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How Artist Ingrid Wells Uses Art to Explore the Feminine Spectacle


I am so excited to introduce Ingrid Wells, talented and incredibly accomplished artist based in the Dogpatch District in San Francisco (home to the And Comfort office as well!). Her work has been featured in Teen Vogue, Huffington Post, and is currently on display in a solo exhibition at the Glass Rice gallery in San Francisco. I was incredibly intrigued by Ingrid's interest in using her work to send powerful messages about what is happening in society, particularly to change the norm in how we think about the traditional expectations of women. Read on for more about her work and her inspiring journey into oil painting.

Please introduce yourself!

I’m Ingrid Wells, an oil painter based in SF with a studio in the Dogpatch. I've been painting for more than a decade now. I’m interested in the feminine spectacle; my work delivers a feminist message commenting on the ridiculous lengths that women must go through in order to achieve equality and respect.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on a series called the Spectacle. Think Hello Kitty meets diamond meets plastic. It’s a series of 20 still lifes that feature mini trinkets and artificial plastic inflated to grand proportions on the canvas. I really wanted to use feminine objects of girlhood and enlarge them to put the viewer in a different space. Hopefully it speaks to the pressure of maintaining the ideal woman’s voice as charming and sweet and provide a place of subtle reflection. Ultimately, I hope my work can serve as a platform for viewers to engage in the conversation surrounding displays of femininity and how that affects the amount of power and respect we give to individual women.

Paintings from Spectacle
Paintings from Spectacle

Your paintings are just stunning. How did you first get your start in painting? What was the biggest obstacle you overcame?

I actually studied Business and Economics in undergrad, but in my second year, I had a longing to paint. I got my BFA in Painting and Art education, but had no prior experience in painting so I really had to practice. I got my MFA at the San Francisco Arts Institute where I now teach as well, but it definitely took a lot of work. The biggest obstacle I overcame was just self-doubt.

I really wanted to use feminine objects of girlhood and enlarge them to put the viewer in a different space.

What inspires your paintings?

So many things inspire me, but I’d say San Francisco as a city is definitely one. SF is so fruitful - there is such an abundance of different colored houses and coffee shops. Color is probably another big one. I love playing around in the studio with different oil paint colors.

Wallflower, 2017

What’s a normal day like for you?

I wake up and drink an iced coffee in the mornings (my favorite is from Piccino). My day general varies, but depending on the day, I usually work part of the day at my admin job at the California College of the Arts and then go to studio, as well as teach oil painting at San Francisco Arts Institute in some of the public programs at night.

Apron (right) from Odsy Workshop SF

Last but not least, what do you wear when you’re painting? How would you describe your fashion style in general?

You could describe my style as thoughtfully casual. I look for thoughtfully designed, everyday pieces that are nice and comfortable. I love pieces that are just easy to throw on and easy to mix and match together. I probably have one too many loafers in my wardrobe.

When I’m painting, I actually wear my absolute favorite painting apron I bought from Odsy Workshop, a leather goods shop here in SF. It’s actually loved and worn by many craftsmen in the city because it’s just so thoughtfully designed, from the straps to the pockets, to the fabric.