I’m a multidisciplinary artist living and working in Los Angeles. My work revolves around body image, identity, and ideas of beauty in contemporary society, and I use myself as the subject matter in an autobiographical context, often using my eating disorder as a catalyst for conversation.
For my current ongoing project, “Perceive Me,” I invited other artists to paint/draw/photograph/sculpt me in the nude. The work is about my own exploration of both self-worth and self-hatred. It started out as a way to see myself through the eyes of others, and has become a multivalent, mercurial undertaking about empowerment and reclaiming my body from those who loathe it. It’s about being seen and refusing to hide behind baggy clothing, about being brave, and receiving love and validation from the other artists participating in the project as well as the viewer looking at my body. It’s about me being enough, and loving my body, and every woman’s ongoing struggle to see herself.
What do I see when I see these paintings and photos? I see art. I see shapes and curves and composition and color. But is that me? Why is it hard for me to believe it’s me? I’ve sat for over thirty artists so far, and every session is a joy. I move my body in whatever ways feel good; I smile, smirk, look pensive, and strike poses. Sometimes I feel thin, weightless, like a supermodel. Then I see the images: form, shadows, lines, composition… I see art, but not myself. Or rather, I do see the real me with a double chin, stomach, cellulite, fat. I see heaviness. I see the weight of the world, pain, exhaustion. I see sadness. My inner supermodel and outer fat woman don’t quite meet up… yet, and perhaps it’s in that void where I’m searching for an answer.
Where do we go from here? I’m not sure. I’m sharing my personal story of a fat woman struggling in our society to live amongst ideal body types, eating disorders, advertising, keto diets, starvation, #firstworldproblems, plastic surgery, yo-yo’s, roller coasters, flights of stairs, marathon runners, yoga, ice cream. I hope that talking about my struggle will help others do the same.
The project will culminate in an exhibition of the work (over 60 artists) to be presented at California State University, Los Angeles in January 2020 along with a catalog, artist talk, collaboration with the gender studies department at CSULA and myself modeling for life drawing sessions.