By MICHELLE CHAMPLIN, student in the Creative Inquiry, Interdisciplinary Arts MFA program
This post was written for Cindy Shearer's CIA 7712: MFA Project. In these blogs, students are sharing their discoveries, reflections and learning as they enter the process of creating a body of art work and culminate their degrees.
My MFA project currently consists of several self portraits. Through the process of creating these I am honing in on and exploring ways of articulating my personal experience and emotions. Through this work, I hope to convey not only these personal aspects, but a larger concept.
I’ve attempted to base most portraits around an emotion that I have felt or was feeling at the time of creating the piece. To avoid a kind of staged look, I attempt to take photos of myself while in the middle of a thought or feeling—not a simple task. I hold my camera comfortably while resting my arm on something and try to forget about the fact that I’m about to take a picture of myself. I am typically inspired to do this when I am feeling something—anxiety, sadness, joy, etc. However, sometimes I don’t feel any strong emotion. I’ve taken a few pictures of myself while meditating; I then choose a photo and draw it. Recently I’ve found myself drawing the portraits while listening to jazz.
I’ve discovered that many of the drawings resemble what I feel I look like when I feel emotion. When feeling anxiety, the lines are thick and hard and my face is somewhat distorted. To me, it appears to be holding a significant weight of some kind. The line quality varies greatly according to the way I am feeling when drawing these images.