Fishnets, Lace and Family Photos is a project that I've been working on this past semester. Since its preview at the UMaine Graduate Symposium last week, I've gladly discovered that it's a part of a larger body of work that comments on sexuality, gender, identity, and relationships. Mine to be specific.
The idea of showing this work publicly has literally kept me up at night. This is a radically intimate body of work inspired by childhood events that are at time uncomfortable to even discuss let alone hang a wall and show to hundreds of people. How could I even begin to think about posting to the Internet images that represent my sexuality, and personal affairs?
Well, I did it. I don't mean to brag, but it won second place at the Umaine Graduate Symposium. Not bad for sweating my tits off in panic.
Enough about titties, already.
Let's talk about the work at hand. Fishnets, Lace and Family Photos and the artist statement is posted below. I'd love to hear your initial response, feedback and thoughts. Email me or post a comment.
Before you continue, two last comments. First. Take note. This work didn't happen over night. This is NOT the final draft. It took me weeks to figure out what this work was even about. (Special thanks goes out to Sheila Pepe, xoxo) So if you are an emerging artist or just struggling with your process, fear not. The struggle is real. I know. First hand.
Second. Normally I would first publish this to my portfolio, which has been live for years. My blog on the other hand, I've had for only about six months and already I've decided to rebrand. The same actually goes for my portfolio.
Why am I telling you this?
Because I'm a developing artist that is willing to share the nitty gritty reality of what it takes to make money and survive in the capital A 'Art world ' and I want you to too.
And for those of you already making it (teachers, comrades, colleagues, lovers, enemies and friends...) I have nothing to hide.
Fishnets, Lace and Family Photos, 2016 • Scanographs, found photos, digital photographs
American culture is hyper-sexualized. Nearly every commercial exchange is marketed in a way that instructs audiences to want sex, have sex, or be sex. Additionally, and disturbingly so, has increased the sexualization of children. It is now so frequent that it has become normal, signaling that many are desensitized to their own children being subjects and targets of sexual objectification.
In the same breath, we are hypocritically prudish. The topic of sex is avoided at dinner tables, in classrooms, and in public spaces resulting in a society that develops into sexual maturity in solitude, or seeks out alternatives such porn, and distorted popular culture to fuel its sex education. This foundation begins when children are told that sex is for adults. Copulation becomes known as “it” and from the beginning sex is something that is dirty. This Victorian approach clearly is inadequate as many children sadly first experience sex as a shock, in sufferance and/or too soon, or fear it far into adulthood. Then regardless of childhood we become adults. Nowhere do we ever become sexual beings.
We always were, regardless of gender and or age.
Yet somewhere along the line, we come to the current state of sexual identity that we now lay claim to as individuals and as a society.
Fishnets, Lace and Family Photos is a visual exploration and juxtaposition of the private yet present biographical (and biological) narration that takes place within all. As I did this work, it became clear through the shocking visuals that the woman that I am now is due to the experiences that I had as a child, and my present sexual identity: my likes, dislikes, attractions, etc., are also the conclusive result of my childhood identity.
While the work is uncomfortable to view, especially in public, it begs me to ask, what responsibility, if any, do we have to ourselves, and our children to develop into our sexual identities without shame and in a way that is healthy? When does this transformation truly begin to take place and is it ever finished?