Looking Inside: Persona


I've decided I'd like to do a series of blog posts in which I go in depth providing context and meaning for some of my art work. Not only will this be a look inside the work, but a look inside the artist as well. Because it's sitting behind me right now, I'd like to start with my painting entitled "Persona".

In early 2017, I was really popping off on twitter. I was posting paintings all the time, interacting with the community, and gaining some solid attention - but it was getting to my head. I was acting like a right dick head, taking full pride in my art and my newly attained position of "internet notoriety". I let my ego run loose, talking my shit every day on the TL, basking in the glory of endless digital attention. I couldn't help myself, the fanfare was ecstasy.

But I was blind to the flip side of "clout". One day I opened up a curious cat, a service which allows people to ask you anonymous questions online, in hopes of opening up a new channel for praise and attention. I did receive mostly positive submissions, but my attention was fully swept up by some others. These particular questions (or statements, really) were about my personal life. These faceless people were telling me what they thought about me - that I was a player, that I didn't respect the women I was involved with, and that I was an asshole. What bothered me was that they were closer to the truth than they might have understood, but they weren't completely on the money. Their picture of me was incomplete, the puzzle they had put together in their head was missing pieces.

This made me think about how everyone saw me, not just these particular vocal few. I was scared - I couldn't tell if I was misrepresenting myself, or representing myself perfectly. So I panicked. I deleted all of my tweets and went into hiding - I couldn't bear looking at the imperfect reflection of myself I saw in those submissions.

Since then I've begun to re-open myself to the internet, but the fear of a developing a public persona which diverges from my reality still hangs over me. I've changed for the better as a person since then (at least I hope), but I can't shake the idea that people won't see that and will never see that - they'll only see a mask in the form of my handle, and I can't breathe through it.

Although I am not pictured, this painting is a reflection of those ideas. Who really are you? The idea of yourself in your head, or the idea in everyone else's? Thank you for reading.