DEBRA DEE TONGE Verified listing Verified

Realism is my Vibe


Realism is my Vibe


    Debra Dee is a British-born American artist based in San Francisco.
    After completing her degree in illustration in the United Kingdom, she acquired skills in other genres of art including classical realism through dedicated self-taught exploration.
    Currently, Debra’s works predominantly in oils and her portfolio consists primarily of private commissioned portraits. She values creating wonderful relationships with her clients who appreciate seeing the authentic likeness she is able to capture . Debra’s passion for transforming clients’ visual ideas into elegant and timeless works roots her creative process.
    The art featured on this platform marks the beginning of a new artistic direction for Debra as she explores a deeper narrative style of figurative realism.

    My most recent collection, Golden Threads, highlights the core underlying philosophies of my practice: individual strength, finding one’s true self, and authentically capturing someone’s spirit through art. For this series, I explored these ideas by creating powerful depictions of real women in my community, carefully gilding slithers of gold to symbolize being on the right path and trusting intuition.
    At their core, all of my recent paintings serve to create narratives of female empowerment by observing and sometimes challenging society’s projections of femininity.
    My process is defined by connections—with my subjects, my community, and my past and current self. As a creator of figurative realist paintings, my ultimate goal is to capture someone’s character. Not just superficial beauty—but the core of their being. I like to guide my models to meditate on what they are motivated by, imagine their true calling, and see life’s possibilities. I try to convey this inner peace in my paintings; frequently, the gaze anchors the depths of these feelings. Capturing mood, expression, and other subtleties all become apart of the story I am attempting to portray.
    I also introduce a playful visual language full of symbols that reference fashion inspired from the past alongside contemporary trends including tattoos, piercings and modern unique vibrant hair styles. Antiques such as 1950’s boxing gloves and botanical elements often find their way into the compositions to add context. These decisions serve to infuse the past with the present in order to address broader ideas of femininity and identity.
    As I continue creating work, I explore tangents of these themes while also leaning into more autobiographical subjects. Painting is a beautiful form of healing, and I know that I am not alone in my experiences of grief and heartbreak. Despite this, my work remains inherently positive. Acknowledging feelings and then moving forward is a powerful thing—when you move on from the past, you can discover wonderful new experiences. Cherished friendships, joyful contentment, and celebrating one’s authentic self are all inspiring to me. By embracing vulnerability, uplifting others’ spirits, and following my own true calling, I hope to create spaces for viewers to see themselves, too

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