Thematic self portrait

Silk Has Two Forms

Reflecting upon the different reoccurring elements and themes I include time and time again in my artwork, I developed the idea for this painting based off the many emotions surrounding change, transformation, and growth. I reference a lot of darker themes into work that inspires positive perspectives, which is why I decided to include moths into this piece. I incorporate moths into my work often, nocturne papillons, the butterflies of the night. Often, moths are associated with darker more gothic themes- yet they undergo the same beautiful transformation that butterflies do. I feel connected to moths as they relate to the night, and the night sky.

I am also facing a time of uncertainty in my life right now: college graduation lies just a few short months ahead of me, and the life I have grown quite comfortable in on my college campus the last four years will no longer be my normal routine. When faced with uncertain change, I often struggle to accept it. That is why I incorporated the cocoons suspended around me; they are somewhat ominous and looming. And although they bring uncertain change, no matter how uncertain, the change will happen, and be beautiful. I wanted to express in this piece that there are two forms of acceptance when facing change: you can morph and grow with it, adapt to it- or you can get stuck in it. Hence the title of my piece, Silk Has Two Forms. Larvae and caterpillars spin their chrysalis out of a silk they produce, but so do spiders when spinning their webs. Spiders represent fear and negativity to me, which is why the webs extend towards me, encroaching on my space and the cocoons. The webs are a threat, but the presence of the hatched moths on my shoulder and face are the evidence that the courage to change is stronger than the tenacious webs.

I deliberately incorporated a lot of green into this piece to further represent the theme of transformation and growth. To me, the color green not only communicates a metamorphosis, but it also represents creativity. It takes a creative mind to accept difficult change, sometimes I find it necessary to change my perspective to tell a story in order to adapt more easily. Another element I include in many of my pieces is texture. I think texture is an emphasis, the way writing can be emphasized with bold and italics, capital letters and underlines. That’s what texture is in my work, it draws the eye towards areas that both are heavy in texture, but also the places that are not. I wanted my hair to be textured so my skin would looks smooth and glow-y in comparison. Likewise, I wanted the cocoons to pop off the canvas against a smooth background.

Overall, I am content with the way this piece turned out, I felt challenged by the work while finding the process therapeutic and reflective.

Silk Has Two Forms

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