“This isn’t the first time I’ve been told the prints work better,” Sokolovskaya admits. “I don’t have children but…I get the [same] feeling as if someone came up to me and said, ‘Oh, your older son is better than your younger son.’ Yeah, but they’re both my babies!”
Sherald doesn’t miss a beat. “Take some time and mourn it,” she says in her quiet yet firm way. “Paint more if you want, but just note that your higher calling might be something else.”
Sherald’s final crit of the day is with Lou Eberhard, a drawing student who makes work exploring his own body. Eberhard, who wears Clark Kent-style glasses, stands beside two 12-foot-high self-portraits that show him nude and wearing a strap-on. A series of smaller works in white india ink adorned with gold foil occupy the remainder of the wall.
“My work deals with with the fact that I’m transgender, but I haven’t medically transitioned yet, so I’m just kind of living this weird in-between state,” Eberhard tells Sherald. She admires the elegance of his linework, and asks what direction he plans to go next––perhaps multiple figures, or portraits of other people?
“I’m going to start transitioning soon, so once I change physically, the artwork is bound to change, too, because I’m using myself as a reference,” he says.