My capstone series utilizes mixed media to explore themes of identity and expression. Embellished with digital painting and embroidery, these portrait photographs aim to capture the essence of my subjects. I chose to portray a handful of my closest friends that embody a diverse range of personalities and identities. In “Sabrina”, I explore my subject’s identity as a Chinese-American along with her strong, rational, and somewhat self-conscious nature. “Lynzee” represents her youthful and fun energy while illustrating Lynzee’s struggles with self-image and judgment from those around her. In “Julia and Lily”, I demonstrate the harmony and balance between my two best friends. One of them is loyal, patient, and organized, the other is lively, optimistic, and curious.
I interviewed each of my subjects before beginning the creative process. My choices of the color scheme, location of the shoot, and general composition of the artwork evolved as a response to the subject’s interview. I collaborated with my subjects throughout the process to ensure they were comfortable and satisfied with how I was representing them. In order to illustrate the different facets of their identities, I digitally painted and embroidered on top of the portraits with images, shapes, and colors that are personally significant to the subject. I intentionally left my pieces open-ended to respect the privacy of my subjects. These works begin to promote a dialogue on the tendency to judge a person’s character based on their appearance alone. Ultimately, I created these works to celebrate my closest friends who I admire so much, and I hope that through these artworks, my viewers can appreciate the nuance and beauty of my friends’ unique personalities and identities.