Faced with the subject of identity for this project I struggled to find anything I felt was significant about myself since most artists explore cultural differences, gender and politics and I feel my relationship with these subjects isn’t particularly interesting. However after exploring these quirks I possess its reminded me of my sense of individuality and given me the chance to ponder how unique and diverse our biology can be despite how we are all human and so similar. In a progressive world it is becoming more and more accepted to celebrate diversity and our differences and being united in how we do this and I think that it is important that we continue to do so. The future is in celebrating what makes us individual while using our differences as a reason to have solidarity with each other.
Exploring the theme of identity, my paintings look at the small physical anomalies that people are born with, with focus on myself. In a culture that strives for perfection there is little celebration of the unusual and the unique about us. Humans are flawed and different and physical abnormalities typically come with a story unique to the individual. My three painting look at three unusual features I have that I treasure as well as serve as a documentation of my development of skill with oil paints.
Painting 1 – Angel’s Kiss
My first painting is a self-portrait. I am posed to display and emphasise a dimple on the presternal region of my chest that I was born with, the cause of which is unknown. As a child my mother would say that the dimple was left by an angel’s kiss which made me feel special like the dimple was a gift. I’ve not come across anyone with anything like it so I’ve accepted it as a birth mark of sorts. Not knowing what caused this dimple is a mystery but it allows it to be a personal physical sentiment to me. I included the majority of my upper body in this painting because I didn’t want to create an anaonymity in the piece. By including my face I made the piece personal. When painting I tried to create a depth in the skin by emphasising the undertones of colour. To make my dimple distinct I emphasised the colour to make it clear in the painting. I wanted the framing of the painting to include my face but to ensure the focus of the piece was my “angel’s kiss”.
My second and third paintings are close ups of my unusual features in order to have a clear direction of focus on the subject. Removing my face from these pieces takes away the personal element to them but it allows the paintings to be observed by the viewer from a non-personal outlook and allows them to reflect on themselves and think about any similar unusual features they might have themselves.
Painting 2 – Light Green
My second painting is a close up of my eye, with focus on my eye colour. My father having had blue eyes and my mother having a dark grey-green shade of eye colour makes my eye colour unique to me in my family. I’ve not met anyone with a similar eye colour and strangers have noticed and commented on it. While green eyes are fairly rare, 2% of the world’s population have green eyes, people I’ve met have said my shade of colour is particularly unusual in how light it is and almost yellow in colour. Eyes are very personal to people in how its common to have unusual mixes of colours in irises. Eyes are also symbolic and thought of as “the windows to the soul”.
Painting 3 – Twenty Digit Dystrophy
My third painting is a close up of one of my nails. I was born with normal nails but when I was a toddler I was effected by a virus which made my nails ridged, brittle and distorted. After seeing several nail specialists it was identified as Twenty Digit Dystrophy which prevents my nails from being able to produce keratin. The specialist I met with said she’d never seen it before but that its very rare that adults have this condition since it resolves slowly throughout life. My nails never strong enough to grow long or smooth enough to paint my nails meant I couldn’t experiment with nail beauty when I was younger which upset me as I watched my mother paint her long, strong nails. However I’ve accepted my nails as a strange and unusual quirk that I’m fond of as no one else I’ve met has it.