I took a load of old make up and threw it across a canvas then coated it in modpodge. The end result was a messy blob of colorful chemical filled tubes and bottles. The motion was fulfilling. Very satisfying. The makeup littered canvas is the background on these rose gold chrome portraits I took this morning. Make up.. the eternal masking of our real faces. So we can look ‘better’ and feel good about ourselves. I see both sides but at the end of the day, when all the coatings are gone - do you see yourself? Can you love your skin, all of its pores and what maybe considered ‘imperfections’? Are you nourishing your skin or poisoning yourself with pigments and chemicals?
The notion of putting makeup on daily never sat well with me. I can see using makeup for special occasions like photo sessions or fancy events. It always felt good to get makeup done for fashion shows but damn, SO MANY products go into that process! As I mature, realizing the ingredients inside of make up gives me even more skepticism. Why do we, women in particular, coat our faces in harmful chemicals and call it beauty? This is something I do not understand. Issues with acne? Cover it up. What? WHY? Makeup will worsen the skin conditions.
For this month's self portraits, I painted my face a soft pink chrome using Mehron Metallic Powder with Mehron Mixing Liquid. Adding only a redish pink Mac Cosmetics lipstick and black Lancome mascara. I recently chopped all my hair off so you can really see my face. When it came time to edit the photographs, I collaged photos of the makeup mess canvas with portraits of me. Looking at the anaglyph layers revealing my face reminds me of how it feels to wear layers of makeup. Can you really see me? Am I putting a mask on to comfort others? Do people's opinions matter? What is beauty?
Ever since my wisdom teeth were removed, it seems like my face is completely different. I lost fragments of my jaw in that process. Looking back on it, I might have been more skeptical and careful about who did the procedure. I've gained a little weight too. After the last couple years of locking in. As much as I've felt physically inactive, my focus and priorities have been on point. But work for workings sake is leaving me a a bit spiritually drained. I've never felt so isolated and simultaneously connected to everyone. It's a strange duality. I've never felt so unnatural yet understanding of nature at the same time. I think this in between is why I am struggling to see physical beauty at this time. What is really real any more? Is there any sense of community or agreeing lately? I am not sure.
The art I've been creating lately is leading me to new thoughts and ideas. Lately I've been painting a piece for an art call with the theme of 'Belonging' which has produced some interesting thoughts and conversations between Craig and I. I've been have an internal dialogue as well. What does it mean to belong? Is it good? Is it bad? A necessity? Again, I'm just not sure. This topic of belonging is one I've struggled with for many years. Exploring the topic has been kind of therapeutic. It's a chance to take a look within at what walls I have, the lines I've drawn in the sand, the spaces and terms I use to define myself or try to fit into. Where do I feel I belong? Scratch that - What do I want?
This era of social media is interesting to witness. People are changing over night. There are happenings all over the world and we can view it all at a click of a button. Face Filters. Cutting Ties. Processing all the lies. Reading between the lines. There is so much to slash through to get to the truth of the reality. And then again the question of 'What is real?' flashes up on the minds eye. Ugh. It becomes apparent to me that the technology is what confuses me. It's what seems to knock me off my path less traveled. I have to step back from it all. It's addicting to watch everything that everyone is doing all the time. We know this. Companies know this. Documentaries are endlessly published about this phenomenon. The mind control. The attention trap. The perfect beauty. The endless immaculate imagery of life. Our most positive side. The wins only. Where do we show the tough sides of life? I feel like that's what human contact is about. Comfort. Company. Other living beings, around your living being. You're existing together. Hearts beating. Minds thinking.
I miss being around people. Staying connected online is not the same thing as being around some one for real. I understand it takes huge effort to keep friends and personal connections. Now more than ever. After spending so much time inside and online, I am ready to meet at the bar! I feel amazing. I am in love with life but I want to reconnect with old friends and colleagues. That's what throwing away old makeup made me think about! The perceived layers. The ideas about ourselves and others we make up over time. We're just human. All that online stuff and makeup doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.
About the Author & Artist
Megan LaCroix also known as Citrine is the daughter of a Navy Veteran. She’s lived all over the US but has roots in Michigan where her family is from. Spending summers in Northern Michigan exploring nature inspired her to create art work starting with jewelry and photography. She’d spend hours looking for rocks and creating assorted beaded jewelry with her sisters. In 2014 She graduated from University of Michigan School of Art & Design with a BFA then moved to Detroit where she is currently living and working. She is a multi-media artist with ever expanding skills but is best known for her jewelry, screen printing, photography, and paintings. Detroit Graffiti has a significant influence on her painting and drawing style. She’s participated in ArtPrize 2015 & 2021 and currently has a studio in the Village Arts Factory of Canton, MI.