A spectrum of color, power and whimsy unites the inspirational muses on display in BE MY ICON!, an exhibit by the New York City-based painter Javier Ávila showcasing his large-scale portraits of famous, glamorous and influential women including Elizabeth Taylor, Chér, Sophia Loren, Jacqueline Kennedy and The Supremes.

Eight pieces from his collection will be on view beginning on Thursday, November 17 with a preview opening from 6pm to 9pm and a grand opening on Saturday, November 19 from 6pm to 10pm. A special evening with Chelsea Eye Gallery curator Tracy Von Becker-Legge, takes place on Thursday, December 8 from 6pm to 10pm. An artist talk moderated by Gabriel de Guzman takes place from 5pm to 7pm on December 10. Special weekend afternoon events, including a coloring session of black-and-white line drawings of portraits from the collection will be announced on the gallery website.

Ávila, who lives in Washington Heights, experienced a cross-cultural upbringing and was raised in both Mexico and the U.S. He started painting at age 16 and has shown his work in exhibitions across the country including the Mission Cultural Center in San Francisco and The Chelsea Eye Gallery in New York City. "Having the privilege to hail from two lands has helped me be more open to the world in general, which has influenced my art whether in the form of painting, music or everyday life," Ávila says.

The artist also draws from his career as a Milliner, costume designer, set decorator and interior designer, having worked with The Lorraine Hansberry Theater, The American Conservatory Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theater and The Martha Stewart Show, where his work resulted in an Emmy Award. With the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York, Ávila helped organize the first-ever tribute to Mexican motion-picture icon María Félix in 2014 — Félix also appears as one of the subjects of BE MY ICON!

BE MY ICON! runs through Saturday, December 10.

THE STOREFRONT PROJECT is a new gallery space and creative collective located at 70 Orchard Street on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Operating hours are Tuesday through Sunday from 1pm to 6pm.

For more information, please contact Gina Pagano via email at g@storefront.com