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Deandra Stokes Makes Your Dream of Looking in the Mirror and Seeing Rihanna Come True

“What are human beings drawn to? Bright colors. Things that are a bit nostalgic. Things that are flashy and loud,” she says. “Sometimes sex.”

Deandra Stokes

Age: 29

What does she make? Your dream of looking in the mirror and seeing Rihanna come true.

Like any BFA grad worth her salt, when Deandra Stokes wanted a mirror cooler than anything the IKEA catalog had to offer, she took the laser cutter and made one herself.

And what, she figured, would be cooler than a mirror shaped like Sade?

"Sade is my childhood in some ways," says Stokes. "I was just making it for me, a little art piece being like, 'Oh, you know, I was wanting a mirror, but she's also a reflection of myself.'"

Using skills honed in the fine arts program at the University of Oregon, Stokes cut a detailed glass portrait of the suave R&B legend, complete with freckles, hoop earrings and a take-no-shit expression.

She wasn't intending to do more than that. But the project inspired her to create a series of mirrors bearing the likenesses of other performers who've inspired her, and whom she literally sees part of herself reflected in—from Selena to Halle Berry to Prince.

Stokes, an L.A. native, spent a decade in Las Vegas before settling in Portland and taking a job as an art director at Wieden + Kennedy. That time spent in the world capital of glitz shows in her art, which leans showy and garish—it's cultural fizzy pop begging you to take yourself less seriously.

"What are human beings drawn to? Bright colors. Things that are a bit nostalgic. Things that are flashy and loud," she says. "Sometimes sex."

Stokes' early work, in fact, centered on the latter—she filled piñatas with condoms and made Pokémon-style STD trading cards. The Mirror Series, however, is about representation. The mirrors primarily depict artists of color, a physical manifestation of seeing yourself and being seen in a media landscape that skews white.

They are also, Stokes notes, about the inherent comedy of staring into Prince's eyes circa 1979 and seeing yourself in his chest hair.

"I want to contribute things to people that can make their lives a little better, or a little more fun, or help them to look stupid or pretty," she says. "Something to make their life a little less boring. Why not have a Dolly Parton mirror?" SCOUT BROBST.

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