I am a self-portrait artist. I photograph myself taking on the persona of an autobiographical or a theatrical character to create artwork for anyone in limbo, feeling like they don’t belong. My work illuminates shared emotional experiences to create a sense of belonging relying mostly on personal experiences of what it feels like to be a misfit. My mission is to reproduce familiar feelings into visuals through conceptually layered, digitally manipulated photographs, as well as the written word, which often accompanies the images, usually in poetry form.
My methodology to create self-portraits remains consistent in its process, whereby I work alone with the aid of a camera, a tripod and a remote control. However, I use a variety of ideas to create narratives I believe we are all connected to; the ones we are naturally wired to listen to, the ones that make us feel united in our pain, our hopes our journey of life. To me, being an artist is a never-ending journey through these ideas and human experiences. It is an exciting journey; building images from scratch, employing a rich visual language of surrealism and symbolism, which is made more familiar by often involving the natural elements of the woodland.
Ideas for the images are drawn from a myriad of sources; from conversations with people experiencing hardship, through poetry (my own as well as others’), to the woods I visit daily. They are linked by the same personal desire to find my own fit in the world.
The square format provides me with a particular space in which I prefer in order to achieve a balanced central composition. This frame also has an additional benefit of helping the viewer believe they are looking at something other-worldly instead of a photograph in its traditional sense of the medium. The final piece usually looks completely different from the original photograph. I would carefully blend in added materials such as plants growing out of my character’s back, signifying her growth, or snakes slithering up her arm and back where she confronts her fears. Always choosing appropriate clothing and an ambiguous location, I give the pieces a feeling of timelessness.
I don’t capture moments, I capture relatable feelings, which the audience can then translate into stories.
Art, in times of need, can bring a kind of peace and comfort in how we interpret its depicted thoughts and ideas. By recognising one’s self in any form of it, deep rooted feelings will latch on to the artistic experience and find solace.