This item is accessible only to the Washington University community.

Off-Campus WUSTL Users: Click the “Off-Campus Download” button below. You will be prompted to log in using your WUSTL Key.

Date of Award

Spring 2016

Author's School

Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts

Author's Program

Art

Degree Name

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)

Restricted/Unrestricted

Unrestricted

Abstract

My artwork challenges the masculine, violent idea of the hero through utilizing the visual language of comic books, as well as autobiographical themes. In this examination of my work, I explore conceptual and visual precedents and relate them back to my own practice throughout. My essay establishes the idea of the contemporary American heroic myth by looking at Joseph Campbell, as well as more contemporary re-examinations and criticisms of his ideas, relating the modern myth to the superhero comic genre. Next, I explore the history of underground comics, specifically feminist autobiographical comics, and relate the works of artists such as Lee Marrs and Phoebe Gloeckner to my own. Finally, I examine my relationship to other contemporary fine artists whose work is in the same vein as mine, inspired by underground comics and thematically rooted in cultural critique, such as Raymond Pettibon and Chitra Ganesh. The goal of my essay is to establish that my usage of comics as a formal precedent, autobiography as a thematic precedent, and a pervasive sense of humor is the most effective way to challenge the harmful and exclusionary ideals continually perpetuated by the heroic myth.

Mentor/Primary Advisor

Michael Byron

Artist's Statement

My work challenges the masculine, violent, and heteronormative ideals perpetuated by the contemporary American heroic myth. The narratives I depict put me in the shoes of campy, generic parodies of heroic imagery, such as knights in shining armor, badass 90's anti-heroes, and Lord of the Rings rejects. These narratives, which generally connect to other works in a series but function as individual moments, demonstrate my own failings or unwillingness to even try in the first place when compared with heroic ideals that are unrealistic for me to achieve, but still attractive to pursue. Heroes are an important marker of a society's ideals, and I want to demonstrate that our current ideal is harmful and exclusionary to most.

Inspired by feminist underground comic books, I use autobiographical events in my life and filter them through imagery taken from pop culture, foggy misrememberings, and fantasy in order to create the sense of a mental space as the visual basis for my heroic narratives. The imagery is directly taken from contemporary culture; I frequently use google images and other collective sources to demonstrate how they impact my own visual understanding of the world and infringe upon my own memories. I use wide range of media, such as photo transfers, lithography, drawing, and painting in order to create these disjointed, expressive narratives. The text that I use, mostly hand written, serves as both a visual texture and as a means of demonstrating the imposed narration that happens mentally when recalling events. I imply the presence of a narrator, as well as create an extra-diegetic narrative, through the use of text directly written on the wall. Through the use of autobiography and both visual and textual humor, I hope to make my work relatable and amusing, in order to encourage the viewer to examine their own relationship to our contemporary heroic myths.

Off-campus Download

Share

COinS