My senior thesis current work is inspired by the themes of identity and popular culture. I use specific objects as catalysts to reveal my personal experiences and encounters with identity, such as being ridiculed by people of my race, and being labeled an Oreo cookie. I also explore issues of gender and status as determined by popular culture.
I am incorporating screen-printing and digital processes as a means to explore the idea of identity in a larger context. Through experimenting with my with my own branding of items, I am also satirizing the labels that are used in the African- American community, such as "redbone". For example, I have taken a photograph of a red polish and through digital processes, renamed it to be Red Bon E. Nail Enamel. My paintings are a reflection of my experience with identity and my acknowledgment of being a woman manipulated by the consumerism of society.
For this body of work, I chose to take a closer look into the things that we decide to wear on our bodies. This ranges from the fun costumes we dress up in, to jewelry that we keep close to our being, to religious garments that we wear, to tattoos that we have imbedded in our skin. I wanted to discover the reasoning behind these choices and what story we tell, if any, by wearing a particular “form” of art.
My work involves two different bodies of work: paintings and photographs. The inspiration for the paintings stemmed from my interest in making portraits that are personal, whether it was of the actual person or the object that represents him or her. In both Otakon photography series, I decided to experiment with a combination of materials: preparing and painting onto a photo surface, and thoughtfully playing with collage, using comic book imagery/ words printed on transparency within the photograph.
There is purpose to the shoes we put on our feet, to pieces of jewelry that we faithfully wear every day. The beauty of it all is that, what other people think doesn’t matter at all. Our bodies are personal, and whatever we put on our bodies is up to us.