Classy to Trashy by Erica B

Women in Visual Culture

When I think of women in visual culture I think of iconic women whose personalities and looks have made an impact on society. Women have always either been seen as objects of admiration but I see them as trendsetters and movement makers. This project I wanted to feature women in pop culture and more specifically, women in the media. With that in mind, I chose three iconic American women in the media that made an impact on society over time. I captured each woman’s essence and then incorporated the time difference in the color of each person. Finally, I used newspaper for the background to represent their positions in media and their statement in life that made them famous.

Erica B, Classy to Trashy, acrylic and newspaper on canvas panel, 14x18",  2014

Erica B, Classy to Trashy, acrylic and newspaper on canvas panel, 14×18″, 2014

I call this work “Classy to Trashy” because it depicts through famous women icons how women who are in the limelight carry themselves. Women in pop culture have different pressures to make a statement with their looks, actions, and personalities. Over the past six decades there has been an drastic change in the way women portray themselves, especially how they express their sexuality. Audrey Hepburn was a respected, thriving female actress who worked hard for her spotlight and arose as a leading female actor in a male dominant career. Marilyn Monroe emerged into the spotlight from her career in modeling and acting to become America’s major sex symbol. She showed off her curves and promiscuity by becoming an example for women to push the boundaries of looking different than the simple housewife and allowing them to being to express themselves. Miley Cyrus is an ever-changing pop culture icon who loves to put herself out for the world to see whether people appreciate her talents or not. Miley, undoubtedly, had made an impact in today’s society. Her music, clothing, and actions all reflect her promiscuity yet her fans love the way she is a perfect example of being yourself and not caring if anyone were to judge you. Out of the millions of iconic women I believe these three have the perfect balance of complimenting and contrasting each other.


Portfolio II students were to create a piece of art based on their own perspective as a teenage woman living in the 21st Century. Students were encouraged to select a topic of interest, to explore its meaning, and to interpret those thoughts/ideas into a 2-dimensional work of art.

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