The Things We Make.

This evening I was thinking a lot about why I make the art that I make.  I’ve always been interested in the why, everythings why.  I’m not one to make a piece and be content without seriously thinking about its purpose, meaning and impact.  I think a lot about the phycological reasons behind me bringing a work into existence.  I focus on creating/capturing both the things that interest me and that I feel deserve to exist in our world.  Deeper than that, I’ve found a huge push towards feminine issues, societal pressures, the media and adolescence emerging within my body of work this past semester.  Here is the list of reasons that I believe explain this jump.

  1. I grew up in a family of strong-willed women (on my moms side mainly).  My grandmother is the strongest person I know, my mother has three sisters, and five of the seven grandchildren are females.  The few men in our family are very supportive and have never treated us any differently for being girls.  We all played football at thanksgiving, wrestled in the living room and enjoyed climbing trees.  Heck, my grandma is licensed to carry a gun.  Actually a lot of the women in my family hunt (I am not one of these people, I have never shot a gun or killed an animal and although I don’t have a problem with them doing it, I have absolutely no desire to).  I guess the main point I am trying to make here is that I grew up without realizing the inequalities between men and women; in my family it didn’t really exist. My dad and I would play with Barbies one day and Hot Wheels the next.  Honestly it wasn’t until I came to college that I realized such a huge gap was in existence.  Having grown up without it, I am far enough removed from the issues (this does not by any means mean I am immune) to be able to poke fun at them.  I see advertisements and am able to pull out how ridiculous the are because they don’t fill me with so much anger that they bring me to tears.  Yes they make me angry, but I am removed enough to work with the subjects in a way that turns them into something with a powerful message, NOT just hateful anti-male art.  For the most part I like males, I don’t want to point the finger at them, I just want to point out that there is some serious problems with our society.
  2. I am an only child who was raised in a lower income family.  We weren’t poor by any means, but we defiantly were not rich either.  I’d consider us the average American family; my dad works in a factory and my mom is a teachers aide.  I was blessed to have two wonderful parents who nurtured my interests from a young age.  The let me try out all sorts of things, but they also let me quit the things I wasn’t too fond of.  I was able to quit softball to do ballet, they took me to plays and musicals, drove me to auditions and rehearsals, let me join 4-H so I could pursue photography (I am from a very rural area and I credit 4-H greatly for helping me find my passion).  They were awesome.  They sacrificed a lot to keep me involved in the things I love.  I know a lot of it was due to the fact I was an only child and vacations could be more focused around my interests, but I am truly grateful.  I am so glad they didn’t force me to play sports.  I hated sports.  I see parents who make their kids play when their children obviously don’t want to and it makes me so sad.  All I can think about is what talents those kids may have that they’ll never realize.
  3. I am a Christian.  This effects a lot of different aspects of my life, and although I wouldn’t consider my art “religious” it is defiantly affected by my beliefs.  I think that I am fairly modest and I believe that’s why overly sexualized ads bother me so much (among other reasons I’m sure).  We are teaching young women, and men alike, that your self worth lies in your appearance and sexuality.  It makes me really sad to see people abuse their bodies in this way.  Our society is way to focused on the idea that sex sells, I personally believe we are way too willing to give that sacred gift away.  I am not sure that my pieces state these things directly, but they defiantly are focused on the root of the problem.  I am interested in seeing when these thoughts begin and how the media is affecting females of all ages and stages.
  4. I have a very tiny chest.  I know that may be a little personal, but it is defiantly a big factor (bigger than Id like to admit) in the way that I am and the things that I make.  I have always been self-conscious about that part of my anatomy ever since the fifth grade when I had to sit in-between two girls who had started “developing”.  I honestly think that they were bigger then than I am now.  Having a smaller chest, I notice people with a larger one.  I am constantly making comparisons and it has to be unhealthy.  I know that this whole issue is one that lives solely inside of my head.  I am not sure exactly how this has impacted my art, but I know that it has greatly impacted me and a connection between the two must exist.  I would love to say that this should not be a big deal in my life, but it is.  Breasts are part of what makes you a woman and it’s a part of my body that I have always wrestled with.  It is what I notice in the mirror when I’m getting ready and now that I’m really thinking about it, boobs are just really weird.  Why on earth do these things that were designed to feed offspring mean so much to me and carry such a huge part of my self worth?

Those are the fourish reasons I’ve come up with for now.  I’m sure that there’s more and as I think of them I might share.  I wrote this as a way to try and review the things that have subconsciously (I guess until now) impacted me and shaped the way that I operate.  I think it’s important to try and figure out why we are the way we are, and why we make the things we make.

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