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Having a Self is like having an intimate relationship with someone you’ve known since you were young and yet feeling like you know nothing about them. I’m catching glimpses of who I am and who I might become but it’s capturing what my identity is now, in the present moment, that is the most difficult. Studying the Self isn’t an easy thing because it’s constantly changing, but to me that keeps it more interesting.
It’s challenging to get to know oneself through an introspective discussion, alone. Having that experience can be a very staggering reality, as questioning the Self and what makes you an authentic being in your own regard, can cause mental unrest. Many might fear even attempting to have this intimate experience and wouldn’t know where to begin. Socrates once said “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Interrogating yourself is a beautiful and painful experience that induces change in how you perceive your life. Painting is how I communicate to an audience to see the fruits of questioning my metaphysical presence, how I perceive my life.
I am inspired by the intimacy and honesty of artists whose works allow us to peer inside the individual. Jean-Michel Basquiat has always been an influence to my work with his use of symbolism and social commentary to give deeper insight to the truth of an individual. Basquiat’s use of crowns and halos turned the artist into a symbol within his work, and I want to experiment with this idea further. Studying the Self led me to discover Bryan Lewis Saunders’ work of daily self-portraits. Taking on the task to create a self-portrait every day for the rest of your life, is an inspiring level of getting to know one’s Self.
There is an immeasurable amount of experience waiting to be painted by my Self. Every work captures a different moment, a different glimpse, and a further understanding of who I am. I aim to model through my paintings how people can become more honest with themselves and start creating relations to their Self, bringing their experience to the table while walking away with a new one. Hopefully through this process of intimacy and honesty they will grow closer and more accepting of the understanding of their own Self.
Through my section of the exhibition, I was aiming to see if I could connect the audience to their own personal views and ideals of the Self through looking at my study of the Self. Paintings and Drawings are the mediums that I chose to do this in, and I believe I was successful in doing so with the body of work I produced. My work is primarily all Oil and Acrylic paint on canvas, with most of them being small sized so that they can really play into intimacy.
While my works can easily be viewed as individual pieces I think they play best into each other when put together. Viewers will have a better time being able to have the connection I aim to create when seen this way.
Photographs were taken by the artist.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
Jessup, Asa, "Alterity" (2017). B.A./B.S. Practicum Group Exhibit (ART 499). 6.