Meet Her Hands: Cindy Popp

Photo by Diana Ascarrunz

Photo by Diana Ascarrunz

Meet Her Hands is a collaborative exhibition series, produced by #bbatx and the Elisabet Ney Museum every summer, featuring three Texan women artists. This season, we're proud to host animator and illustrator Alie Jackson, documentary photographer Deborah Valcin and conceptual artist Cindy Popp. Each artist will showcase work within the Elisabet Ney's collection for two weeks, and throughout the summer we'll explore sculptor Elisabet Ney's legacy, while writing a new history of women in the arts.

The second exhibition in Meet Her Hands, "I Can’t Do Anything By Myself" by artist Cindy Popp, opened on August 9. Thank you to our collaborators at the Elisabet Ney Museum, our drink sponsors Austin Cocktails, our volunteers and partners for making this show possible.


"As Cindy Popp, I use found objects, clothing and makeup to transform myself into anyone I want and my empty home into an audience. Finding examples of women—particularly women of color—using makeup and fashion to take control of their own image in a way that isn’t meant to be attractive to men can be very hard to find and I want to fill that void. I’m interested in an exaggerated version of femininity, with notes of pop culture and drag. My influences are fashion editorials, makeup artists on Instagram, B movies, clowns, and comedy. I always want my photos to be imperfect, indulgent, and a little gross." — Cindy Popp


Hosted within the guest artist space at the Elisabet Ney Museum, I Can't Do Anything By Myself by Cindy Popp is a study of self-portraiture and a playful celebration of the unconventionally grotesque. Here are a few notes from Cindy Popp's opening reception artist talk:

On Cindy Popp as an alter-ego
"She has to exist in a space where she’s alone. She never sees the light of day—she’s only out inside my home."

On creating space for emerging talent in the art world
"I’d tell curators the same thing I’d tell anyone with a position of power—use it better. Let people without a voice, have a voice and be recognized."

On her inspirations
"My art came from me feeling restless with the scene here [in Austin]. It doesn’t mesh well with my personal style. Dressing up as a clown is fun and liberating. It has a clear aesthetic. So I just keep going and the rest is history... I also love Nickelodeon. My favorite show is Ren and Stimpy. Very fun, gross and interesting visual style. It was so funny, I love it."

On childhood
"As a kid, I was super small and shy and scared, always reading a book. Three older siblings raised by a single mom who was a trucker. I was home schooled. I was into Greek mythology and Stephen king. I was a creep and super sheltered! I had a very small view of the world. I think younger me would be super psyched about this [her work]. "

On her process
"I have a list and a photo collection as inspiration. But then an idea will just happen one day and I’ll go with it. They are also really spontaneous—I have these big dreams, but all these factors apply, so I have to scale things down. I do have some plan but I usually go with what’s available."

Photo by Jinni J

Photo by Jinni J


You can view Cindy Popp's "I Can't Do Anything By Myself" through August 2018 at the Elisabet Ney Museum during museum hours. This is the final exhibition in our summer series. See y'all in 2019!


About #bossbabesATX, the producers: We exist to build educated and empowered creative communities at the intersections of sisterhood and space. Through event series, showcases and personal/professional development programs, we amplify and connect women-identifying artists, creatives and entrepreneurs. Since we've been in operation, we've provided a platform of visibility, outreach and financial opportunity to 300+ Texas-based women artists, 400+ women-owned businesses and women activists. We were selected by The White House to attend the United State of Women Summit in June 2016 and inducted into the City of Austin Hall of Fame in 2017. This production has been made possible in part by 2018 presenting partners Resplendent Hospitality.

About the Elisabet Ney Museum: In 1892, European portrait sculptress Elisabet Ney (1833-1907) purchased property in Austin, established a studio named Formosa and resumed her career as a noted sculptor of notables. At Formosa, Ney sculpted legendary Texans, among them Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston.  Ney also assembled at her American studio portraits of European notables, including King Ludwig II of Bavaria, Otto von Bismarck, Arthur Schopenhauer and Jacob Grimm rendered from life as a young artist in Europe. At the turn of the 19th century, Elisabet Ney’s studio became a gathering place for influential Texans drawn to “Miss Ney” and to the stimulating discussions of politics, art and philosophy that took place there.  Following Ney’s death in 1907, her friends preserved the studio and its contents as the Elisabet Ney Museum and established the Texas Fine Arts Association dedicated to her memory.

Jane Claire HerveyComment