As many artists, I struggle with a duality within my personality, and wanted to create a self portrait as an expression of this. Though I try to be a happy, confidant person, and I praise myself on being able to look at the bright side, I have always struggled with inner negativity. As a teenager I was diagnosed with an eating disorder, clinical depression and anxiety disorders, since that time I have constantly struggled to keep this under control and not to let it effect me. Like everyone, I have days that are better than others. These past few months have been a bit of a struggle for me, but I feel with the coming Spring there is light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully a renewal of confidence, and I look forward to spending time outdoors where I feel the most positive and connected.
In this near life size self portrait, I wanted to paint a less confidant self, greeting a more confidant self. The confidant version of myself is seen in a looking glass, which serves as both a mirror and a gateway to a different place. I included a pair of red-winged blackbirds, which to me symbolize where I grew up. They remind me of car rides, dirt roads, visiting relatives, and that orange glow seen at sunrise and sunset. I included a pair of mice who symbolize my birth year as the Wood Rat, and were painted in the likeness of an old companion of mine named Sylus. Growing up in the country I have always had a connection with foxes. I have had many one on one close encounters with foxes, each encounter felt magical, and I felt blessed by the experience. I used these animal pairs to represent different symbolic meanings as well as to emphasize a union between the dualities within myself.
I used acrylic paint, as well as spray paint, and combined a realistic approach, with a messy dripping technique, to portray the contrast between confidence and solidarity and instability and loss of self. I struggled with the self portraiture technically and even more so mentally. At a time when I am feeling very insecure and unconfident about myself, it is a struggle to look yourself in the face. Do you see the real you? Or the You that you want to see? Which one is which? One thing that I have learnt so far in life is that we learn the most through struggle. I may not be 100% sure about how I personally feel towards this painting, but I did learn more about certain techniques and composition, and hopefully a little bit more about myself.