Artist Statement

I am fascinated by the history of portraiture and its relationship to the highly manipulated, instantaneous portraits of ourselves that we now create daily with our cell phones. The portrait within the context of photography has been explored in detail, but the ability of individuals to so easily and so often manipulate self-photographs is uniquely characteristic of my generation. Though I don’t work in photography, my work dialogues with photo sharing apps like Snapchat and Instagram. The source images used for my drawings are selfies of strangers that exist on social media. In my work, I explore the manipulation of the body through layers, filters, and other means of distortion to question ideas of exhibitionism, voyeurism, and self-made identity, characteristic of participating in social media. I am interested in the ability to easily manipulate images of one’s own body and share those images with others. When we distort an image of our bodies, to what extent are we distorting our idea of our bodies, or our bodies themselves? I think of the images that make up a social media profile as parts that make up a digitally-existing, constructed personal narrative. Just as a computer (and all technology) is a prosthetic or extension of the mind or body, social media is more specifically a prosthetic identity or self that exists outside of the mind and body. To what extent are the images on our profiles part of us; to what extent are they alien to us?