Fashion, gender, culture and sculptural forms.

Example of my studio photography and photoshop retouching work for client demand

Self portrait for myself iPhone 4S no photo manipulation or post processing.

I am not beautiful, and I am not who I even think I might be or should have been, so fashion and the political landscape of commoditised beauty are interesting topics for me. The module looking at sculptural emphasis seemed to liberate in one way or perhaps in another I felt it a place I might find useful to hide and use art as a crutch for an overwhelming sense of not feeling attractive.

Surgery to make oneself feel more aesthetically beautiful is probably the most relevant of all current sculptural interventions. The body as clay, moulded to fit what we learn is more acceptable than the body we have. Everything packaged as a financial solution to one's emotional ills. Size, lips, eyes, breasts, lines, fat all can be changed, sculpted, altered and made different.

If one discusses ideas of fixed gender and again what one might sculpturally comply with there also exists the same tyranny of form, ideas, notions and accepted models. If you fail to meet perceived cultural ideas then there is a transference into madness ( but for me only as Foucault would describe it) or fractures in fixed realities driven by accepted cultural (for me) insidious memes.

I take photographs of beautiful people and make them more beautiful through the intervention of software so others might also seek some aspect of what my client is selling. I on the other hand live a very difficult existence between one physical self and an emotionally unlived gender experience. Fashion is a cage it solidifies gender difference and its industry shrinks my body to impossible sizes in order that I may psychologically happily engage with prevailing cultural imagery.

One might say my transgender experiences could be the most sculptural of all fashion, the most radical of any development. The masked image of me is a sculpture, it contains so many parts that have to be constructed and attached in order to represent what might visually be an idea of female shape. The lips are ironic comic symbols, the bandages a vision of hope that underneath one might discover their own sense of what is beautiful. I can of course remove the bandages and know what I look like but the viewer is left to ponder the question of what might be. What images flow through their mind to determine the figure acceptable to them. Perhaps nothing is acceptable to them but then that raises the question why, and how that has been learned. Are there doors that should remain psychologically closed, is at fear about the loss of the familiar in a world where everything seems less familiar than the day before. Is fashion for all its ills at least a place of familiar sanctuary, would we rather have the impossible aspirations than to lose the certainty of what a woman or a man should be. Hope is a powerful tool but false hope is an emotional dead end that no decree of familiarity with it can cure.

The church window shadow is not anti religious because that is too simple a place. It is about a creator and other pressures that drive emotional angst when radical ideas about the self are discussed.

My sculptural piece emerges from such ideas. Fashion is part of a political process so my work either addresses that through the medium or I look to future ideas that step away from form altogether. I had spoken in the module about the body as platform for protest through my ideas about animal protection and the reality of their abuse on a catastrophic industrial scale for human consumption. I also spoke about ideas of future possibilities of how fashion is more part of the environment in the sense it interacts with other technologies. I find this fits with Mcluhan's hugely interesting ideas about a medium being the ground around it and it's intersections with other cultural factors. I think fashion as McLuhan would have it is a very definite extension of the central nervous system but In a fixed way not in a way that could expand our thinking about so many other aspects of ourselves.

These are some of the interesting areas for me and ones I am most inclined to explore in Fashion as a module.

 

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