Oil on linen, 2004
Collection of Kenneth and Nancy Kranzberg
I live in the small desert town of Winslow, Arizona. Brenda â€“Hayes—left—is a cashier at the local Wal-mart. In the evenings she works at the prison. Her best friend and sister, Mary Alice, has a one-chair nail and hair salon. The salon chair is covered with fabric depicting the monuments of Washington, D.C., though they have never been to them. On their time off Brenda and Mary Alice sing, mostly gospel; they believe their voices are a gift from God. Whenever there are special â€“occasions—weddings, funerals—the Hayes sisters are asked to sing. They always sing for free. Unlike traditional figurative painters, my style â€“changes—from realistic to rather â€“odd—to suit my subjects, so it was not easy to choose a painting for this contest. I had spent the previous six months on an eighteen- foot painting of sixty suicides and myself at a New Year's party in purgatory, and was having a difficult time detaching from this work. A friend suggested I paint someone living. The Hayes sisters, full of life and glory, became my way out of purgatory. I submitted Glory because I wanted to see Brenda and Mary Alice Hayes alongside America's icons at the National Portrait Gallery, representing generosity and kindness, unsung and unselfish. For more information on my work please go to tinamion.com.