About four years ago, my wine stains started to gain a lot of attention on the internet. Of course, artists are always told that exposure is key, so, at first, I was elated by this increase in exposure, watching Google Analytics report hits from countries worldwide. I felt like the wine stains were suddenly my boon as an artist.
Around the same time, I had increasing trouble with my complexion. As more and more people were looking at my work, more and more, I wanted to hide my face from the public eye. In 2015, when I finally had good enough health insurance to cover a visit to a dermatologist, I was diagnosed with rosacea. Of course, the irony was not lost on me, since red wine has long been thought to be the cause of rosacea. So, taking inspiration from Monica Castillo's brutally honest self-portraits, it is all too appropriate for me to finally create a series of self-portraits illustrating my plight using the very medium that many believe triggers it.
These wine stains are all selfies on square pieces of white fabric with white prints, intended to conjure up a sense of Instagram filters and format. The title, "#nomakeup," speaks to the honest representation of my rosacea, as well as my dismay about how this hashtag is often used by women whose complexions and bone structure already highlight their innate beauty. For me, makeup is the only way I can attempt to conceal a stigmatizing medical condition.
In essence, this series of wine stains examines the conflict between the desire to connect and gain recognition and the desire to conceal flaws all while trying to navigate the fickle and superficial whims of the digital realm.
Even though it is tempting and increasingly easy to present yourself in a self-serving flat light via flattering filters on Instagram and Facebook posts that are biased towards the rosy moments of life, it is through the honest showing of our vulnerabilities that true connection occurs.