Exploring Identity

I’ve been exploring the concept of Identity through my drawings recently. Art is often considered a form of self expression in western cultures, and so our art is often considered expressions of our Identity. The artist reveals who they are through the act of creation. Viewers and critics look at an artist’s work and they consider its honesty, dishonesty, humanity and inhumanity; the work can even be considered boastful or humble. Ultimately the artist is praised for their work or criticized for their attempts.
MaskAs we take up the pen or brush and begin to work, there is a way in which we are choosing who we are. As we create there is a way in which we are creating who we are. We choose who we are through our choice of subject matter and media, our titles and statements. Our viewers look at our work and say, “You are all about this subject matter,” and they think that you are a certain kind of person because of it. They think that you are good or bad, indifferent or caring.
Mask (inverted) I feel that there is something a bit misguided about these ideas, however. There is a way in which a person’s true Identity is hidden deep within their autonomy, completely invisible to any outsider. Even the task of contemplating one’s own Identity is difficult–it is like an object that bends if you look at it. A person’s Identity is shrouded even to them by all kinds of uncertainties that roam their hearts, it is obscured by internal conflicts, and it is constantly being re-written and remade. Identity is pushed and pulled by the tensions in our minds and the transience of our lives. If our art has any true resemblance to our Identity, then it may only be as superficial as a mask.

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4 Responses to Exploring Identity

  1. Rob Currie says:

    I really like the drawing and the commentary. Very true!
    I thought it would also be cool if this mask was a maze. Maybe somehow that could also relate to the journey of discovering whats behind the mask.

  2. athanasius96 says:

    “There is a way in which a person’s true Identity is hidden deep within their autonomy, completely invisible to any outsider.”

    Written like a true introvert! However, there is also a way in which we learn about ourselves within community. As you also say, identity is “pushed and pulled” as we interact, not just with tensions; but with God, friends, even enemies.

    BTW, I like the masks!

  3. John Gascot says:

    I’d like to think that most of our work speaks of who we are. But, I feel not all of our work need be or speak ABOUT us. Actors often portray roles completely opposite to their true personality or identity as a mere act of exploration. I think we, as visual artists, can do the same on canvas, paper, clay, etc.
    That said, the more I think about it there are really so many angles from which to approach this subject.

  4. Vicki Locke says:

    It seems so true that a person’s identity is hidden and mysterious….only G-d can probably search it out/test it…He can either be a most Intimate friend or a dangerous Enemy, depending on your angle…I venture that He must be a most dangerous Enemy to our old fleshy Self…like a Surgeon is our friend but certainly is an enemy to the tumor he’s extracting…

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