I began painting furiously about nine years ago while in rehab for heroin addiction. I was 23 years old, and I had rediscovered a yen for art. Even strung out on heroin for five years, I hadn’t forgotten everything about myself or reality. Each painting I created that first year was unplanned — emotionally raw and swiftly executed, in a matter of hours. Over the past years, as I’ve become more thinking and feeling as a person, so has my voice as an artist.
My current work includes a series of photographs about the women in my life. The piece “Ill” is a photograph of a friend of mine who suffers from anorexia. A meal consists of a ketchup packet mixed with a cup of hot water, which she jokingly refers to as “tomato soup.” The photograph “This is my plan” captures another friend — someone who suffers from body dimorphic disorder. Because of her illness, she lifts up her shirt to reveal an emaciated, tattooed torso.
Here’s what disturbs me. I took these photographs in an attempt to show my friends that they were too thin. But then, honestly, I thought to myself, “They look great.” I even took it a step further and decided to go on a diet, thinking I needed to lose weight. I had been keeping on an extra 30 pounds to prove to women that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, like a Dove soap campaign.
Now, I’ve become my photographs. I weigh 116 pounds and wear an extra-extra-small. I know it’s crazy, and I am struggling to stop dieting.
This was not my original plan when I started this photography project, unless it was subconscious. So I feel like a beautiful failure. I think it might be time to change media again.email print