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“Three Faces of the Pioneer Woman” by Daniel Pickens
“Three Faces of the Pioneer Woman” is a mural painted by fine artist Daniel Pickens. Daniel was born in Lima, Peru in 1974 and is currently living in Stockholm, Sweden. Having a Peruvian mother and American father Pickens spent his life living between Peru and the United States finally settling in Europe to dedicate himself to his painting. Pickens studied Art at the Baltimore School for the Arts and The Maryland Institute College of Art and Archaeology at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos in Lima, Peru. Pickens has had one man shows of his art in Lima and in Stockholm.
Daniel Pickens has his own unique technique for painting. He works in two different styles simultaneously. He uses simple organic lines and flat colors to define faces and anthropomorphic figures reminiscent to images found in archaeological remains from Peruvian pre-Hispanic cultures while at the same time utilizing thin interwoven color lines that define faces and surreal environments. This style is influenced by the detailed handiworks of the Mantaro Valley in the Andes and the profusion of color found in the jungle of central Peru. Most notable among Daniel's other work is his series “The Crosses,” painted to honor the memory of his mother.
The Pioneer Woman mural was commissioned in 2015. According to Hugh Pickens, Executive Director of Pickens Museum in Ponca City, Daniel wanted to paint a mural that evoked Ponca City and “what could be more evocative of Ponca City than the Pioneer Woman.”
“The primary challenge with the mural was finding a fresh approach to the subject matter,” says Hugh Pickens. “The Pioneer Woman has been done to death. It is too familiar to us in Ponca City and statewide. There have been many paintings of the Pioneer Woman over the years and its iconic power had begun to fade.” For that reason Daniel decided that the mural would consist of close-ups of the face of the Pioneer Woman from three different angles to create a new symbol of the Pioneer Woman symbol for our era. “This is a Pioneer Woman for the 21st Century.”
Daniel was in Sweden when he received the commission, so Hugh took thousands of photographs of the Pioneer Woman Statue from every angle and emailed them to Daniel for him to work from. Six months later Daniel delivered three studies of the Pioneer Woman. “Once we approved the studies for the mural Daniel came to Ponca City and painted it in the large studio at my house,” says Hugh Pickens. “I designed the mural structure to be movable so we didn't paint it on a wall. We purchased 12 standard size doors and we put these together on French Cleats into a wall of doors that is 26 feet long by 12 feet high.”
Daniel came to the United States with his one-year old son in January 2016 and painted the mural in 2-1/2 months working from the studies. “The results speak for themselves” says Hugh Pickens. “The mural of the Pioneer Woman is striking. This is Daniel Pickens' masterpiece.”
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