What Becomes A Hooker Most?



Gala Dali
Carl Van Vechten, 1934

What separates hooker from muse?  Maybe it’s just how long one wants to survive.  After battling tuberculosis at 17, and losing friends to madness and starvation as a result of the Russian Revolution, one might forgive Gala Dali should she be determined to stay in the world.    She brought her infamous sex drive to the Surrealist scene, seducing, often at the same time, her first husband Paul Eluard, Max Ernst, and, of course, Salvador Dali.  Fellow Surrealist Andre Breton, a one-time friend, would later say that she was destructive to all those whom she befriended.  Dali’s sister called her a whore, and Dali disowned his sister in return.   Dali saw Gala differently.  Maybe therein lies the difference: it’s all in how you see her.   He felt nourished by her, famously calling her his basket of bread.  “It is mostly with your blood that I paint my pictures, Gala,” he said.   In a way, her actions could be considered holy: she offered up corporeal tokens in exchange for immortality.  She survives beyond the day to day, into forever, in paintings like “Portrait of Galarina.” There’s a sculpture of her in Marbella, Spain, “Gala asomada a la ventana.”  But, sure, she used her worldly goods to worldly ends: she died in the castle he bought for her.

Another painter with sympathy for the bad girls is Los Angeles native, and self-proclaimed “hooker-obssessed,” Natalia Fabia.  In her series Hooker Safari and Hooker Dreamscape  she offers them shelter in what look like cloisters of pop culture nostalgia.   Fabia poses them cuddling stuffed unicorns, eating pizza in bedrooms, and draped lazily over each other on the couch for a nap.  Rather than ladies of the night, they seem more like ladies of the hours between the last school bell and dinner time.

“Patty Cake”
Natalia Fabia
Oil on Panel

If two women wanted to amuse themselves before the dinner bell at sleepaway camp with no counselors to supervise, they might play Patty Cake.  The title piece, Hooker Dreamscape is dreamy indeed, with girls eschewing the slate grey pavement for the cool, lush spot in the woods where the high school kids meet, drink beer and carve their names in the trees with their car keys.   The soft colors, the wispy strokes, are like the covers of old, YA paperbacks you’d see lining the bookshelves of your older sister’s room,  weathered by the years in between when she grew out of them and you grew into them.  Not All the Natives Are Friendly, Though is what it looks like when the Babysitter’s Brothel, or one of the Slut Valley twins, heads down to Africa to save the last pink, ruby-encrusted rhino (Precarious Existence), and a caper ensues.

“Not All the Natives Are Friendly, Though”
Natalia Fabia
Oil on Canvas with collage and glitter

Remember that girl two grades above you who wore too much make-up and smoked and did a little too much too soon, but was always sweet to you, looked out for you and told the older boys not to tease you in the hallway when you were just walking to math class?   Natalia’s portraits are like the place in your heart where you carry her, while the world calls her a slut behind her back.  Perhaps this kind of tenderness and devotion comes from the fact that none of these women are really hookers, but friends of Fabia’s posing as hookers.  Tricks, indeed.



Many more from the hooker series, along with other works, including Fabia’s website www.nataliafabia.com  Her line of jewelry, Hooker Feathers, can be found at www.hookerfeathers.com.