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Currently on view at HVW8 Gallery in Los Angeles, “Poor Traits” is a new collection of mixed media paintings and figurines by Jean Jullien. The title plays on the word “portraits” and references Jullien’s professed lack of technical skill when it comes to depicting realism. Inspired by popular media, “Poor Traits” engages the audience by just begging them to take selfies alongside the magazine parodies and ubiquitous figurines (of white men dressed all in black, like a stereotypical urban artist). Jullien’s painted mirrors reimagine famous magazines as the camp “Vague,” “Vanity Flair,” and “Men’s Stealth.” Each interpretation simplifies the elements of the design, leaves blank the space where an airbrushed celebrity image would normally be on the cover, so that someone visiting the gallery in person can see themselves in the gap. The accompanying figures, on the other hand, are not reflective in the physical sense, though they evoke ideas of how people construct their own persona by showing a line of men drawing on their own smiles. Together, the painted mirrors and miniature artists represent both the creativity and reproduction inherent in projecting an identity in a visual form.

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