The purpose of this piece is to expose the obsession with technology as an enhancement of beauty. Whether it be through airbrushing in magazines, the chemistry that goes into makeup, or plastic surgery, we are determined to either defy or enhance nature, to change our bodies, to transform ourselves into something that is beyond our nature. Granted, changing our bodies to make ourselves more beautiful is not a new phenomenon, but as technology becomes an increasingly dominant part of our lives it is becoming increasingly more a part of our beauty routines.
The cubist nature of this collage comments on the fact that we are just piecing our beauty together--- a little bit of lipstick slapped on next to some bronzer and mascara, none of it our actual lips, melanin, and eyelashes. Our faces aren’t ours anymore, but some projection of what we could be if our genes were different or even couldn’t be because biology doesn’t come in that color. The disturbing nature of the image comments on the fact that we morph bodies to be beyond the bounds of realism while simultaneously pushing those bounds. The image is supposed to look like the makeup advertisements that filled beauty magazines, and I intentionally made the piece a little overwhelming to mimic the experience that I have when I leaf through a beauty magazine: bombardment by images and text that tell me how to be a better, prettier, sexier woman who knows how to please the boyfriend I obviously have.
This piece uses only images found in four beauty magazines targeted to both teenagers and adults, and I was quite adamant about that as I made my collage, even as my techniques evolved as I worked. To create this collage, I first physically cut out images and words from the magazines. Then I scanned them and arranged them in Photoshop over a base image which was a makeup ad. After collaging, I printed the piece and placed it back in the magazine from which I took the base image. I chose this method in order to mimic the process that usually occurs in the production of the magazines--- the physical image being captured, then rearranged by technology, then printed and becoming the physical again. When I started, I wanted the piece to look like it was made using only scissors and glue, but I found myself realizing that the piece would look better if I used techniques only possible with a computer, an aspect of this piece that I find quite powerful. Though it is obvious in some places that I used images not in their original printed form, it is not so obvious that I enhanced others to improve the aesthetics of the piece, blurring the lines between what was computer-enhanced and what came directly from the physical.