* All images used with permission. Please do not distribute without first contacting the artist.
Gillian Keller, aka Enlightenment Barbie is an artist based in San Francisco, CA.
Gillian explains her work by saying, “The goddesses and gurus I depict are members of my own heavenly host of religious icons. Flanked by flowers, glitter, and gold, generous praise is invited for these mysterious women. My subjects start as models and muses. Then, through my photography, they become frozen in a chance glance—a raw moment of ecstasy. They transform into an expression of divinity that is at once both intensely personal and universal—into an object worthy of devotion. “Enlightenment Barbie,” a name for myself and my work, is a nod to the “myth” that beauty and brains cannot coexist—and yet, the description of the quintessential Goddess—powerful, all-knowing, and strikingly beautiful in appearance and intelligence. Combining things that influenced my own unusual spiritual journey, I fling tradition to the floor in favor of creating a new religion. Medieval Christian iconography, Eastern religious shrines, and 60’s Guru culture collide with the modern woman in these color-drenched images. Starting with my photographs of women, I create digital mockups of each piece and order an archival print of my model. I source vintage illustrations and comb through my own photographs to find the perfect visual material. After laying out and piecing together complex layers of paper, gold foil, and rhinestones, I finish the sides of my panels with brass tacks. A layer of UV resistant resin gives it that luscious shine.”