Sometimes what we assume is a very complicated question actually has a pretty simple (and obvious) answer. A large part of my practice has been sculpture, specifically creating clothing. I am interested in what drives us to select what to wear on our bodies. I have clothes that make me feel a certain way, show off or cover certain parts of my body, draw attention, distract, blend in or those articles of clothing that are just plain practical. It would seem that by my choice, I have control over the way I am perceived through my clothes. However, when I’m working on clothing pieces in my art, I attempt to flip that perception around and show how we are actually dictated to through our clothing. Are we trapped into being defined by what we are comfortable wearing? What we can afford? Or what falls within the comforts of our society?
This exploration began when I started exploring the effects anorexia had on my self-image. I began hiding under my clothes, to prevent people from seeing how sick I was. Or when I needed a self confidence boost, I would look to clothing that would show off my body and have attention be the scale to my self worth. It’s been more than a few years since I have used clothing in that way, but I don’t think I (or any of us) are free from the bindings of the fashion industry.
When talking with my Lady today I was reminded of how important this part of my practice is. I found myself saying it still makes me feel exposed and uneasy when I wear certain clothes. And before you go thinking I’m worried about wearing a mini skirt, the item of clothing being discussed was an Aubrey Hepburn t-shirt. Fitted, but not tight, I felt like I couldn’t hide like I can when I wear other, looser fitting clothing. When I came home this afternoon, I started reexamining some of the pieces that are in progress. Maybe anorexia and the desire to be thin doesn’t play a role in my outfits and presentation, but I saw very clearly today how much I still feel exposed. Just like my works evolve, so are the issues I decide to portray through my artworks. My practice involves refreshing my mind, as well as my eye. It’s encouraging to have a transitive answer, that is also truthful, when my Lady asks, “There’s a reason you make clothing, right?”.