During my time in Austin, I vividly recall visiting the newly constructed Whole Foods in the Domain mall. On my first visit, I unexpectedly discovered an upstairs balcony that overlooked the entire store, but it was only after I had finished eating. As I hurriedly ascended the stairs, the rapid ascent left me feeling slightly lightheaded. Inspired by this experience, I aimed to capture the elements of surprise, contemplation, and the vibrant energy that permeated this novel grocery store in a painting.
In this “toxic edition,” I sought to depict the impact of contamination, fear, and the looming economic collapse, which have caused communities to view what was once a cultural institution as a breeding ground for the coronavirus. The mistrust, waning greed, and fear of the pandemic are transforming our local food centers into both a lifeline and a potential minefield, as an invisible enemy looms.
This image conveys the shifting perception of our food centers, highlighting the changes brought about by the pandemic. It serves as a reminder that what was once a symbol of cultural significance can become a source of uncertainty and apprehension, forcing us to navigate this new reality with caution and vigilance.