When I began this series, I didn’t pull a lot of themes from my life personally. There were a couple here and there, and I believe that each of them touches our lives in some way, but only one that was truly me in every sense. I wanted to portray a fear that I have for “Fourth Wall” so that I could create it as a self-portrait and truly feel the moment of creation.
This was that image. This was a deeply personal piece to create. It started with a big ceramic egg in the hallway of my studio, which was part of a whole building of studios. I don’t know who made the egg, but there it was, sitting in the hallway. My friend brought up how neat it would be to do a photo shoot with eggs. I kept the idea in my mind. And then it hit me that I had to do it, because it so perfectly illustrated something I feel.
The only problem? I don’t buy eggs since I practice a vegan lifestyle. So, instead of buying a couple hundred eggs, I made them out of plaster. I blew up some balloons with a little bit of air so that they were still tiny, and then I mixed some plaster in a bowl. Once the plaster was the right consistency, I dipped the balloons inside and laid them out to dry. I popped them when they were firm and what was left was an eggshell.
It didn’t all go so smoothly. The plaster was very difficult to mix. If it was deep enough to accommodate the balloons, it would coagulate too fast and I could only get about 8 good balloons in a time. It required a lot of patience and re-mixing of plaster and frustrating eggs that were just too thick. After many hours of creating eggs I finally had enough to shoot with.
Since I created this one as a self-portrait, I decided to transform myself a little bit. I bought a bald cap, which was very funny to put on. I painted my whole body white which helped the bald cap blend into my skin and stick to my forehead. I stuck bits of “eggshell” on my body and onto the picture frames that I painted to be the same color as the eggshells.
This image meant a lot to me because of the theme: fragility. I have always been very sensitive to being thought of as fragile. It started with physical problems I have. I never wanted anyone to think I was less than capable. This resulted in many frustrating trips where my friends wanted to help me but I would refuse. It resulted in me hurting more than ever because I couldn’t accept help. It resulted in being more broken than I was. I have learned to shed that word in some ways. I accept help now. I try to remember that just because I can’t do one thing doesn’t mean everyone sees me as weak.
But it also stems from simple things that many people deal with, like being a tiny person. Generally I love it. For example, when I go to events I love getting hugs and being swung around in a circle. But sometimes, rarely, it rubs me the wrong way. The way a man will pick me up around my ribs without permission and comment on how tiny I am or how he could crush me, or the like. Sometimes it puts me in a position where I am made to feel out of control of my body.
I recognize that none of this is life-shattering, but it is something that I remain very sensitive about in many ways. I try not to be, I know I shouldn’t be, but there it is. So I created this image that deals with the theme of fragility. In doing so, I realized there is much more to say on this topic. I have been tossing around the idea of creating a new series as my next project in this vein. We will see what comes of it!
In the meantime, I hope you like this image. It is a personal favorite and I’m proud of how it turned out. It felt good to create from a personal place, since I don’t typically approach my art that way. It is also the first print that sold in the new series, and as such leaves only one left available at the large size. My gallery representative and I made the choice to print one of the editions as a triptych, furthering the fragile and broken theme, and I love how it turned out!
Very limited editions. Each print is offered at 42×42 inches with an edition of 2, and 8×8 inches with an edition of 3.
Photographed with a Sony a7ii and a 25mm Zeiss lens.
Assistance: Kelly McGrady