About a month ago, I got a peculiar text from a coworker. They said that they have a strange favor to ask of me. As they prepare for job interviews, they thought it would be best to ask close friends and family what their biggest weakness is. For the sake of fairness, I told them that I would tell them their biggest weakness if they also tell me mine. He quickly agreed and told me that my ‘fatal flaw’ is that I stretch myself too thin and stress myself out too much. I thanked him, as much as one can in the situation, and told him his fatal flaw.
This peculiar exchange is what inspired my multiple self-portrait, Fully Flawed. In the media today, we describe people’s appearance, business prowess, and status as “flawless.” My multiple self-portrait is the inverse of that. I chose to draw attention to my flaws and in a sense, humanize them.
My art process began by asking two other people close to me what they thought my fatal flaws were. The first response I got was that I forget the good parts of myself and misconstrue myself in social situations. The other response was that I can be too controlling and take on too much for myself.
After getting the main idea for my work down, I brainstormed the image I wanted to create. I decided that my setting would be my work office’s sunroom. The office I work in is practically a second home to me. I am also a self-pronounced “workaholic” who loves what they do for a living. Thus, my office aptly served as my backdrop. Furthermore, I pictured my different “selves” filling the sunroom and the activities they would be doing. I saw stressed me off to the left clutching a calendar and a coffee cup. I imagined my brash self in the center, demanding unnecessary attention. I then envisioned my controlling side off to the right, hushing my brash self and pouring coffee for my stressed self. I think that these points of interaction demonstrate how my controlling self interjects into activities.
I tried to distinguish these different sides of myself by dressing differently and having varying makeup looks. Additionally, I dressed the scene by filling the bookshelves and placing textbooks on the table. I also made props to make my scene more engaging and easier to analyze.
I decided to do this project completely solo. Because I have a hard time expressing emotion as it is, I didn’t want to make it more awkward by having someone take my photo for me. Thus, I used an iPad with a self-timer to take these photos. I found it difficult to use the timer as Apple timers have a quiet beep. It was also difficult to press the button and get in position in ten seconds. If I could do this assignment again, I would use a higher quality camera and use a remote timer.
This assignment taught me great patience as I carefully masked myself. I found that it was easier to use a Wacom tablet to mask as it helped me get better lines and a closer finish. Moreover, this assignment taught me how to create scenes that express a concept or idea. This assignment also gave me the courage to represent discursive, personal flaws in a single image.