January 7 – 30, 2021
I am and have always been lonely. I have always felt like an alien among humans, more colorful than this beige world can handle. This body of work is an illustrated memoir of my loneliness: how I got this way, what it does to me, and all the painful, frightening, lonely, and exciting moments that happen in the absence of other people.
I have made art all my life. I have always found joy in creating beautiful and interesting things, but it was only a few years ago I discovered what a powerful tool of self-expression art can be. I started writing my feelings first, documenting my mental health in illustrated zines. I then brought writing into my paintings to combine the emotional power of a painted image with the temporal aspects of poetry. I have found the public vulnerability of these pieces to be healing. With this work I reclaim and express pieces of my past I held as shameful secrets, I heal myself, and I build understanding and connection with those who view my art.
My work feels especially resonant in the time of COVID, as we are all feeling trapped and isolated, staring at the same walls for months on end. Empty rooms are a familiar and loaded sight for many of us now. Much of my work focuses on painting my surroundings, often objects in my own apartment. I am interested in the significance we place on the spaces in which we live and the objects we surround ourselves with, and in the tension of feeling both safe and trapped when living alone in a small space. And especially after six months of lockdown, I am fascinated by how utterly alone one can feel despite living so close to others in a dense urban neighborhood.
My goal with this series is to give voice to my loneliness and related feelings I never felt like I could express. I want to tell my story so that a viewer who feels similarly can see that these emotions can be shown to the world in an empowering way, and that someday the loneliness will get better.