My work explores the construction of identity of girls. I explore these ideas in both painting and photography. The two mediums are constantly informing the way I approach each image. The paintings exist as completed works, but they also provide the figures that populate my constructed photographs. I use Photoshop to combine background scenes with these figures to create a believable yet curious new reality. I am interested in this interplay between reality and fiction. I want the viewer to stop and question their initial assumptions about what they are seeing.
While I do portray real girls in my paintings, I don’t think of them as specific portraits. Instead, I think of the images I create as universal portraits that explore my ideas about identity development. I am fascinated by the way girls act and consciously present themselves as they try to figure out who they are and who they ultimately will become. This process of self-discovery is filled with contradictions. Girls are filled with self-confidence one minute and self-doubt the next. Part of them wants to hang on to the innocence of childhood, yet they are eager to grow up. Navigating relationships is a big part of this process. In the paintings, I focus on these relationships — how the girls present themselves in relation to the viewer, and how they fit within a social context with others. In the photographs, the focus is on a larger view — of a girl’s expectations of the world and how she fits in it.
By combining the painted portrait with photography I am creating a layering of narrative, yet, I like to keep the work open to interpretation. I am drawn to things that may feel slightly awkward or quirky. I try and push towards something that is a little bit edgy yet still maintain a quiet subtlety in the work. I want to capture that moment when confidence and insecurity, whimsy and seriousness, innocence and knowledge can all exist. This work reflects my own stories as well as a projection of the future as I begin to watch my daughter establish her independence and navigate through childhood.