This project was LOUD when it came to exposing my patterns and interests as an artist. On the very first day of class, I made what I call a mind map of words that describe my art. I looked to my photography for clues about what these words should be, since the largest body of my work is photo-based. The words that first came to mind were relationships, emotion, nostalgia, and self and others. As I pursued each of these theme words and looked for connections between them, I noticed that every line of thought ended somewhere similar. For the first time, I became conscious of my repeated exploration of “the relationship between within and without”, as I described it.
To me, the relationship within and without can encompass a variety of subject matter, but the primary elements I chose to explore in these studies were reflection and mirrors, the vastness of space vs. understanding the self, and expression of the self to others. I think these all originate from my habit of introspection and my experience of my personality, interests, and maturity being consistently misinterpreted by all but a very few people outside of myself.
I have always spent a lot of time inside my own head, and especially as a child I frequently struggled to express my thoughts and my needs to others. That meant adults had to operate on their assumptions of me, and I constantly caught wind of them making statements about my personality as they understood it––and they weren’t always very accurate. As I’ve gotten older and this has continued to happen (less often to me personally and more often to my art), I’ve felt frustrated and isolated by what I understand to be others’ untrue characterizations of me. This series has become an exploration of the tension between the assumptions others make about me (the “without”) and what I understand to be the truth about myself (the “within”). More broadly, I believe this is why my work focuses so heavily on human subjects: I want to explore the person vs. my portrayal and understanding of them. I wouldn’t call any of this new subject matter, but this was the first time I knowingly and intentionally dove into these themes, where before they appeared organically in my work.