Selfie Girl

Charcoal, Pencil, India Ink on Canvas

48 x 60 inches, 2015

Featuring an active cohort of girls in flight, two who pose for selfies, and recoil as black ink erupts from their cellphones to overtake them—this work is inspired by the increasing dangers in social networks in which young girls find themselves. Facebook and Twitter have evolved into public, unregulated spaces of intrigue and potential danger for little girls. I was particularly interested in a series of devastating recent cases in which the reputations of young black girls have been utterly destroyed, either from explicit images/videos that they shared of themselves, without understanding the consequences, or from those taken of the girls without their knowledge, and released into the unforgiving mediasphere for public scrutiny, shaming, and a horrific social death, by way of ostracizing.

Selfie Girl started out as four featured girls, all intertwined (especially by shared braids). I whittled the composition down to three girls, ultimately. The girls sort of represent different concepts that I am addressing in the drawing. The central figure holds the phone up to capture herself with a selfie; the bottom figure, engaged in the same activity is mortified as ink shoots from her phone screen. The top-most figure is the embodiment of a “coon song” that discusses black children in a negative light. The fourth figure, which erased from this drawing, was the embodiment of shame – she appeared with her face buried in the palms of her hands, hiding herself from the gaze of onlookers. I decided that this composition was already very busy, so I removed the figure of “shame,” and featured her more prominently in another drawing from this series, Untitled Girl (Girl with No Name).

Selfie Girl

Charcoal, Pencil, India Ink on Canvas

48 x 60 inches, 2015

Featuring an active cohort of girls in flight, two who pose for selfies, and recoil as black ink erupts from their cellphones to overtake them—this work is inspired by the increasing dangers in social networks in which young girls find themselves. For example, Facebook and Twitter have evolved into public, unregulated spaces of intrigue and potential danger for little girls.

I was particularly interested in a series of devastating recent cases in which the reputations of young black girls have been utterly destroyed, either from explicit images/videos that they shared of themselves, without understanding the consequences, or from those taken of the girls without their knowledge, and released into the unforgiving mediasphere for public scrutiny, shaming, and a horrific social death, by way of ostracizing.

Selfie Girl started out as four featured girls, all intertwined (especially by shared braids). I whittled the composition down to three girls, ultimately. The girls sort of represent different concepts that I am addressing in the drawing. The central figure holds the phone up to capture herself with a selfie; the bottom figure, engaged in the same activity is mortified as ink shoots from her phone screen. The top-most figure is the embodiment of a “coon song” that discusses black children in a negative light. The fourth figure, which erased from this drawing, was the embodiment of shame – she appeared with her face buried in the palms of her hands, hiding herself from the gaze of onlookers. I decided that this composition was already very busy, so I removed the figure of “shame,” and featured her more prominently in another drawing from this series, Untitled Girl (Girl with No Name).

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