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Consume

Jay Fields

Consume statement

Unhealthy attach­ments are encour­aged in monog­a­mous rela­tion­ships through a com­plex of eco­nom­ic, social, and pop­u­lar media forces. The arti­fi­cial sanc­ti­ty of roman­tic inter­per­son­al rela­tion­ships often makes them seem­ing­ly invul­ner­a­ble to out­side cri­tique, or at least out­side of the realm of analy­sis. With art I hope to breach the untouch­able rela­tion­ship in an emo­tion­al way that is informed but not lim­it­ed by more tra­di­tion­al aca­d­e­m­ic analy­sis.

Con­sump­tion is the cen­tral theme of the sketch turned dig­i­tal art piece. The lips and hun­gry mouth bor­row from imagery that pops up fre­quent­ly in adver­tis­ing that takes advan­tage of the asso­ci­a­tion between paint­ed lips, gen­er­al­ly a woman’s, and sex. Mouths in this con­text are sexy but benign, and almost always pre­sent­ed for the male gaze and plea­sure. With this illus­tra­tion I aim to twist the com­mon nar­ra­tive of a woman’s pas­sive dec­o­rat­ed lips into a more vio­lent and con­sum­ing image – turn­ing the pas­sive mouth against the view­er and giv­ing them a sense of being the pas­sive object by empathiz­ing with the peo­ple being manip­u­lat­ed inside the mouth. Anoth­er twist is hav­ing the mouth act­ing out the con­sump­tion that it is nor­mal­ly pas­sive to. Beyond these media dri­ven twits, con­sump­tion is also com­mon in the way that monog­a­mous roman­tic rela­tion­ships are treat­ed social­ly. Part­ners may be picked as much for what they can pro­vide as for who they are, which leads straight into the eco­nom­ic push for con­sump­tion. “Sex sells” – the result being that women’s bod­ies con­tin­ue to be objec­ti­fied for mon­e­tary gain, per­pet­u­at­ing the nar­ra­tive that asso­ciates wealth and the accu­mu­la­tion of cer­tain prod­ucts with an enti­tle­ment to women’s bod­ies and sex.

All of my illus­tra­tions use sym­bol­ism to bring social, eco­nom­ic, media dri­ven rela­tion­ship ideals into ques­tion. The play between appeal­ing visu­als and dis­turb­ing con­tent is one that I feel reflects the appeal of these unhealthy rela­tion­ship themes. Pos­ses­sive­ness, code­pen­den­cy, and con­sump­tion are all log­i­cal­ly and prac­ti­cal­ly unhealthy but the emo­tions dri­ven by them, the inten­si­ty of a rela­tion­ship fueled with unhealthy attach­ment and devo­tion, is reck­less­ly and painful­ly appeal­ing. My hope is that this cru­el but beau­ti­ful love can remain in the realm of the illus­trat­ed and the nar­rat­ed, rather than play­ing out in the lives of peo­ple who may be bro­ken by the sys­tem and their own desires.