The idealization of beauty has permeated American society. In Los Angeles, a city that lives on its looks, there are surgeries for plumper lips, wider eyes, nose jobs, hair transplants, botox to fill in wrinkles, liposuction to remove fat, and so on. A pretty face is always welcomed, but kindness is not always offered to those who don’t fit the mold.
As a former actress, casting directors remarked how I was not skinny enough, not fat enough, not perky enough, that I don’t have wide enough eyes, or white enough teeth, or am not tall enough, etc. As a society, we further go on to encourage this sort of degradation by purchasing “beauty” magazines and encouraging the next generation to produce digitally-enhanced selfies for the most likes.
The series “Heads” begins with original portraits of fellow artists, printed untouched, on archival pigment paper and combined with magazine cuttings. Sourcing over 50 magazines for perfected body types with impeccable fashion, perfectly manicured hands and killer bodies that seem near impossible to achieve, I felt compelled to call attention to the often unrealistic expectations that society demands.In a post-Dada style, these appropriated pieces of magazine models were collaged into the original portraits. By accentuating how ridiculous the journey for beauty perfection has become, these newly assembled characters were re-photographed and added into a background consisting of mediocre macro-scapes showing the “writing on the wall”.
Can society laugh at its ridiculous notions of perfected beauty? Will we ever stop glorifying the outside and turn our gazes inward? Can we teach the next generation to appreciate more than superficial appearances? I encourage the viewer to use her own head to draw conclusions, fostering a body-positive movement for today and future generations.