Maybe she’s born with it, maybe its ketamine.
Windows have always been a recurring theme in my work. There is something about them that draws me in. I see them as tiny portraits with a soft anonymity. Outside the frame, I usually know nothing about the people who spend their time on the other side of the glass. The audience is left only to make their own judgements, form connections or experience nostalgia in whatever way behooves them.
The image below is of my own bathroom window, taken from inside the home looking out. This is a new perspective for me, most of the time I am on the outside looking in. The irony is, I equate my images of windows as anonymous portraits as I stated above. Here it becomes a self-portrait. I see myself as the vine, and this is what the movement of my life looks like.
My blog is traditionally a curation of my work, I also use it as a place to discuss things that concern me as a woman, an artist and a human being. Today I want to talk about sex(ism). Its rampant, despite the fact that this is 2017, sexism is everywhere. I experience it on a personal level as well as see people fall prey to it on a daily basis. I am here to tell you that we have had it. The idea of a perfect body, perfect hair, perfect smile, perfect smell, perfect image is false and absurd because we live in an imperfect world and without chaos, nature could not actually do its thing… However though this chaos comes order, and with this order comes imperfect perfection in all things.
Advertisements spread the cancer of sexism like Coca Cola sells high-fructose corn syrup. It is perpetuated with an idea of beauty that simply isn’t real and fueled by capitalism. Let me let you in on a secret, all bodies are good bodies. Period. Here is another secret, we are all human beings. We all poop, have body hair, experience pain and love and so on. Men have nipples because all babies are formed in the womb with the intention of becoming female, it’s not until later, when the sex organs develop that it is decided if those nipples will eventually become breasts. We are all feminine and we are all masculine, and however you feel the most comfortable is where you are meant to be.
In discussing body hair and advertising, here is a lesson on why and when women began shaving their armpits:
It wasn’t until 1915 that American women began shaving under their arms. The reason they did so was directly related to advertising! The sleeveless dress made its debut in the fashion world in a Harper’s Bazaar ad. Modern dancing and sleeveless dresses made objectionable hair out! And then of course, a flood of anti-armpit hair ads followed. Before long, being hairless was a thing and body hair (being human) was something to be embarrassed about. It was also was another way for marketeers to tell women how to feel about their bodies, and people got rich because of it. The idea that someone profits off of our insecurities makes me sick to my stomach, never should there be profits made on someones pain.
Lets take this a step further, what if there were no rules? What if advertising welcomed all types of people.
This is my anti-sexism advertisement.
I when choose to use myself as subject, I hope to convey a certain vulnerability that resides within the human condition. My self-portraits draw from my own personal experiences, and through an abstract approach I detach from my physical self while maintaining a tone that is emotional and narrative. I believe human emotion is the binding thread of our civilization. If you took everything else away, pain is still pain and love is still love. Someone once told me that, ‘You can’t measure pain. Its relative. We all experience it in our own way.’ Through using my physical self, I strive to use my form as a vessel to convey something beyond the physicality of the body itself.
This is struggle.
Getting back in the swing of things…
This self-portrait was taken in my bathroom. Backlit and intentionally blurred to capture a certain ambiguity on the human form. By removing facial recognition, I intend to create an anonymity with the subject and the viewer, hoping the work acts like a reflection of the person in front of it. The idea of one half of something, two parts that make one whole fascinates me. Duality exists in all facets of human experience. I pose as a metaphor for non-binary culture, the figure in the image could be my feminine side or it could be my masculine side. It is simply one half of the human form.
In response to the thirty million people whole lost their healthcare overnight and to the fifty-five million women who will no longer be able to afford birth control. Women who are no longer given the simple human right to be in control of our own fucking bodies. The only thing that truly belongs to us, nothing was ever promised. We were never entitled to anything, other than what we were born with. Skin. Thats all. Skin. If we aren’t allowed to be the boss over our own bodies, then what can we control? In a time when abortions are next to illegal, overpopulation and a limited resource epidemic, climate change; more women are left without access to birth control?! When you think about it, they are telling us that we aren’t allowed to decide whether or not we want children, suppressing our libido and keeping us in check. It is a mans world after all. We all better behave. To live in a country whose leaders don’t care about the safety and wellbeing of other people, says a lot about the place. It is clear that according to the current political structure, and perhaps for previous political structures, humanity is expendable.
Recently, I have begun taking self-portraits again. My self-portraits usually obscure my face, blur my features and fall somewhere in-between abstraction and narrative. In talking about gender without actually portraying gender, the conversation becomes about the neutrality of gender itself. Gender roles are learned behaviors, we don’t come out of the womb “knowing how to sew” if we are born with female genitalia. The same goes for people born with male genitalia, the genitals you’re born with don’t determine your gender either. Sometimes the universe gets it wrong. I always attempt to encompass my feminine and masculine energy into my self-portraits, because both are equally important.
In a culture where they tell you that exercising your freedom of speech is unlawful, be loud. Scream if you must, stand up and demand human rights. As a woman, living in a patriarchal society, where men tell me what to do with my body, determine how much money I make, what I should be doing with my life, whether or not I should bear children, get married etc, its important for me be bold, daring and unapologetic.
This is my loud mouth.
Two months without a post, I feel like thats the longest I’ve ever gone. I have been shooting a lot of photographs over the last two months, compiling a body of work for this new direction I fell into, sort of by accident, which does not surprise me. I’ve fallen into a lot of things, seemingly by accident in my life. I will begin posting the images I’ve been shooting after I complete this post. I have been absolutely loving it. I am ready to take the work to the next step, and I plan on telling you all about it.
Despite my connection to the new body of work, I have felt an immense disconnection to the world in which I inhabit. The state of affairs is frightening and maddening at the same time. It’s devastating and absurd. I want to reach out to fellow human beings and say, “Why are you so fucking angry?” all the while I sit here biting my fingers and furrowing my brow, in disgust at the motivation behind such atrocities. The ignorance behind it all, the willful ignorance is enough to make me vomit. My heart has broke many times as of late. I wake up, and scream silently into my pillow, in hopes to meet catharsis for breakfast, before I go about my day.
What is this life we live? Consume, throw away, repeat. Stripes are in, spots are out. This lipstick, that haircut. Eyebrow trends are actually real. For what? What is the reward of being so vain and desperately needing to project our best selves into the world, cause god forbid we show our real selves… Then everyone would see the flaws we work so hard to cover up. So, we just try to fit in. Conform to the idea of who we are supposed to be, based on what someone or something else said. That same someone or something, has no reference to who we are personally. Something like a magazine, or the media. Someone like the person who writes for them. And we listen like lambs, being led to slaughter.
This is me trying to fit in.
What is ego anyway? The textbook definition says; “A person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance.” What is self-esteem? What is self-importance? A pedestal of sorts, where we all sit perched. While our ego delegates the day; what to wear, where to go, whats in, whats out, who’s hot and who’s not. She’s a slut and he’s never cried. She must be crazy. His dick must be big. Everyday we make judgements. Everyday we assert some sort of power to make ourselves feel better, usually at the expense of somebody else.
The stench of this trash is so rancid, we no longer remember what it’s like to be nice. Women compete with other women, rather then rally with one another. We have the same parts and we are on the same team yet, we would cut our sister with a knife for a man? I’m not claiming to be a saint. I have done things I’m not proud of. I am not perfect, nor am I better than anyone else. There is however, a sense of real pride that comes from standing on your own. Standing up tall and proud; using your sense of self-esteem and self-importance to perpetuate the greater good. Patti Smith once said, “In art and dream may you walk with abandon. In life, may you walk with balance and stealth.”
This is my pedestal.