So often, we hear that, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” – which is true, but we still possess artistic preferences, claim specific works to be masterpieces, and label genres that allow all types of media to be classified. It is human nature to want organization and specification, even in the case an individual prefers a lack of labels; it would be in this case, ironically, that they label themselves (in whatever case), ‘unlabeled.’
There is a socio-psychological phenomenon that states that individuals tend to gravitate towards those that dress and/or hold themselves similarly to the particular individual observing them, due to the inward assumption – that is more often than not, a rather solid instinct to follow – that those that appear similar to themselves will hold similar interests, values, and intellect. This homophily may express itself in different forms for each person, as explained within the Wikipedia article the aforementioned word is linked to. A person may gravitate towards another in regards to their gender appearance, their race, their hair color, their age, or – if personal information is known – class, religion, or occupation.
All of this is to say that I thank my friendship circles for giving me a solid socio-scientific basis on which to judge my own attractiveness.
While I normally tend to focus on reality as it is to analyze it due to its rare ability to be manipulated by any singular human hand, I have discovered a sort of artistic homophily within myself to analyze, and I have found with it – seeing as it requires the following to analyze the basic Freudian psychology behind it – a creative outlet in the manipulation of others’ artistic works that I aesthetically relate to.
I have stated in previous posts how I would love to work for the Wall Street Journal Magazine one day due to the crispness of their photography and minimalism of each of their pieces, but (of course), there is always something lacking – whether it is a societal more I wish to decompose even if simply within my own being or simply a texture addition or color change that I feel would add to the interest of the photo.
All of the following pieces have been created with ads and fashion spreads from Wall Street Journal Magazines:
This first creation is a narrative regarding my own beauty ideals. The original cover of the magazine featured the model (Doutzen Kroes) in a simplistic, neutral environment. While I cannot argue the clean beauty of the original photograph, I felt it lacked personality, energy, and life. All editorials these days feature photographs where the model looks dead inside, it seems to me. That’s not really my style. I see beauty in the lineage that follows the model’s neck, as you can see – it’s a slight sexualization on my part, I must admit, but the stark contrast of the yellow on the neutralized flesh tone is more the trace of an imagined energy flow than a place I’m trying to draw the eyes.
The salmon color showcases a fundamental value I’ve always found in the offbeat and quirky. Not the purposeful offbeat and quirky that’s nearly political in its birth and prosperity, but the offbeat and quirky that seems as natural to a person as the weight of their own body. Without the yellow energy around the model’s presence, the salmon color of the hair would be heavier than the entire piece. With the evenness of the two warm colors contrasting the neutrality of the background, everything is evenly weighted.
The second adaptation I worked on began as a two-page Yves Saint Laurent ad. Black and white always draws me in because both can be used as canvasses as long as you’re using the media your intentions will behave well with.
I immediately ripped out this page because it reminds me of an incredible amount of people I have the honor of being acquainted with. My social homophily tends to draw me towards those who dress in darker colors and are more irrationally emotional individuals like myself. This splotch of people, I have found, lack color only within their clothing. It’s as if they don’t feel the need to portray color on themselves because they have enough within their heads – positive or negative does not apply here.
All of these humans, as stated by Charles Masson, have a garden growing within them, and they have their own green thumbs when it comes to portraying themselves within their art. They grow as individuals, as artists, as leaders and intellectuals, and they’re all punks because I love them with all my heart.
At first glance here, we have hippie Jesus and a very mod (and mad)-looking woman next to him. This, I will not argue.
I will argue, however, the fact that I had no idea what I was trying to portray in this piece until I was sliding my brush down the edges of that woman’s nose in hopes that her eyebrows would not overpower her face.
That being said, this is a commentary on traditionally feminine and masculine appearances. Both faces are highlighted by sepia – the male’s facial hair dominating his appearance, while the concave features of the woman’s face lend to her femininity. You may argue that these portraits are not physically appealing, however forcefully I am attempting to convince you of their purpose.
In that, I give you my response: they are not meant to be attractive. They are meant to serve as a commentary.
While it is true that longer hair on males and shorter hair on females may seem against societal standards of our time, I ask that you consider what was useful historically in the days of agricultural and familial splendor.
The tails of horses and other animals are useful for swatting away winged pests. Just as we use hats fitted with mosquito nets to subdue potential attacks, long hair on a male would undoubtedly shelter him from a similar fate, however prototypical.
Although long locks on females has always been common, it is not uncommon for a woman to shed her hair for a short period of time to cope with young children of toddling, biting, and grabbing age. Not only would this save her the pain of being climbed like a tree by her children, but it would also reduce the chances of her catching on fire from the stove and having strands get caught in miscellanea around the house and outside when collecting sticks for heat.
The colors around them? Eh, they’re pretty and I like the idea of auras.
This photo also was removed from a two-page Yves Saint Laurent spread – I guess I like to deface their property in the name of artistic vision and first amendment rights the most. I remember looking at this and immediately thinking of Rose in Titanic during that iconic scene where she tells Jack to paint her like one of his French girls, but then the need for color kicked in, and everything changed (which you can touch, by the way).
The man’s tie, belt, and hair are neon green. One must tie themselves down and hold themselves up to become a big-wig, and for some reason, I think I tried to get that across in the most obnoxious color possible.
I originally meant for the dark red to symbolize bullet wounds in his pristine, white-collared shirt, but the red was too near to black to show any obvious symbolism, so I stuck with dying his entire ensemble the color – a sort of red wine. Drunkenness in power can cut off your hands and your ability to touch what you once thought you could alter.
This last alteration is one of my favorites of the five. The past two or three years of my life I’ve been attempting to figure out how feminism works in our society, and I’ve finally come to the conclusion that if feminism is to work, I must include men as well. We have similar issues: aesthetic minorities are shown to the masses, our insecurities are advertised to, we are put down by others of the same gender in order for them to establish dominance over us, and all any of us want is to find a place where we, as individuals, are comfortable in this world.
It was my attempt with this piece to highlight the importance of the individual, acknowledge their singularity, while also calling to attention their outward presence and capabilities not visible to the naked eye. We’re constantly silent to people who do not care to converse with us, even through silent communication such as the way we dress and our body language – all that portrays to others are stereotypes based on the observer’s past experiences.
We need some empowerment for males in all categories these days, whether it’s supporting pride of one’s body, sexual/gender orientation, profession, etc. etc. etc. The goal of feminism (or equality, if you prefer to call it – the two terms are interchangeable) on a social level is to create comfort for those involved, and we will never complete the task unless every single person is involved with self-contentedness.
I did learn about myself through this project, but it mostly solidified what I already suspected about my values and who I am as a person. I made some pretty sick art while I was at it, and I’ve successfully inspired myself to create some more.
Much love and many artistic endeavors wished upon you,