Referencing gold-leafed Byzantine iconography and the religious paintings of the Sienese School as well as the thangka paintings of Tibet and Nepal, these portraits point towards the power and wonder of beauty. It is in beauty that life finds value and by extension, bliss. Those depicted are my friends and companions, they inspire me with their compassion and the love that they share with me and others around us. I feel, in attempting to create a better world, beauty must be both an unending refuge from, and a sword in combat against, the ugliness of this world. These are my gilded icons empowering me in this struggle.