The Integrated Self
For many Artists the themes of our artwork are a balance between conscious decision and intuitive aesthetic. While artists may flow from one project to the next inspired by a variety of things it can be ambiguous and elusive to determine why some concepts are explored, while others are marginalized. This distinction became important to me after spending the summer of 2013 abroad. Upon returning to the states the task of assimilation was both daunting and unattractive. It was then, that for the first time, that I deliberately turned to the creative process in effort to integrate what I felt were desperate experiences into a unified whole. I found, not surprisingly, that making artwork about my time abroad, gave me a way to work through my feelings of uneasiness and anxiety. Eventually this process gave me a better understanding of how I identify myself.
This experience inspired me to investigate my own practice, with particular attention paid to the events I have and have not made artwork about. Moving forward, I aim to purposefully take a look at impactful events in my life and mindfully make artwork as a way to integrate them into my sense of self. To that end this thesis has been structured as an arts-based research auto ethnography that uses my creative process as a data set an effort to better understand when, how, and why I use making visual art as a means to integrate life shaping events into my sense of identity.