They say a person’s true character is revealed by what he does when no one is watching. What happens, however, when he never gets that opportunity? In our society we are under constant scrutiny from everyone around us. There is always some kind of external pressure telling us how to be; it can even come from the people who love us the most. You take AP Biology because your parents want you to be a doctor, but all you’ve ever really wanted to do was to paint. You worry you might scare your significant other away if you act on your true feelings, so you smile and try hard not to be “that girl.” Suddenly we have limits on the things we want to do and the feelings we naturally feel.
Not all scrutiny is as obvious, of course, but it is so subtly and unmistakably present in each of our lives that we can’t even tell who we are anymore. Uncertainty leads to doubt, which in turn leads to a discomfort and awkwardness with ourselves. True happiness is made impossible. With my artwork I explore this phenomenon in an effort to overcome it in my own life, making it a very personal journey. I paint from photographs for a specific purpose; each image captures either a broader scene in which I felt especially awkward or a candid shot in which somebody close to me did not feel any of the pressure of scrutiny, so the image must exactly represent that moment in order for it to be effective for me. I then either draw with extreme precision or deconstruct the colors and values and paint them in a disconnected, sometimes surreal manner, which works to help me deconstruct and understand the moment better. It also provides a therapeutic linking factor to it all. No matter how unsure of myself I may feel, the person I am at my most basic level never changes.
Each of us has both good and bad within us, and more often than not we choose to only see the good. Truly understanding yourself is not always a pretty thing. If you can accomplish it, however, you open the door to a greater sense of enlightenment about the world, more security in your relationships with others, and a more complete happiness previously unavailable to you.