The Selfie as feminist art.

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I live from the insight out, from my feelings towards my intellect, it is always a journey from action to insight, from the emotional to the rational.

I recently found myself deconstructing my fashion photos and selfies.

And I began to wonder why…

The process of elimination means finding the “other”  A.W.

The process of elimination means finding the “other”

A.W.

I transformed my fashion images into arty expressions; allowing my curious inner child to play or going deeper into my dramatic essence, my hidden soul.

Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist.  Rene Magritte

Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist.

Rene Magritte

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Emotional content became important during the Romantic movement with artwork expressing a definite feeling, as in the sublime or dramatic. Audience response was important, for the artwork was intended to evoke an emotional response.

The world didn’t applaud my up-cycled outfit pictures as in “OMGoddess so crazy cool…” My followers on IG were more like ?? or “interesting approach”, and “what the heck is she up to now?”

“It’s half your usual likes,” argued Mister rational.

“I like it though,” said my little rebel angel.

“Why?”

“Probably because we have said WE ARE ART so many times.”

I show funky outfits with the motivation to inspire to step out of ruts and old beliefs, to free ourselves from limitations our souls suffer under. Deconstruction is the next, more radical level. My reasoning didn’t convince me though. Should I continue?

The Universe listened.

I got a card in the mail from my friend Charisse, her handle on IG is Let go NOW. A huge surprise as postcards have become super rare occasions. Her card said loosely translated

It’s the rebel who moves history and advances societies.

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.  Thomas Merton

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.

Thomas Merton

The Universe had answered. It empowered me not to care about likes but to do what I feel is right for me in this moment, to let go of my doubts and be my arty self NOW, however it might look.

There still was the why? Was I just bored of my “regular” shoots? Was there more to it?

One inspiration had been time travel: Writing the memoir of my rebellions I had walked through Paris visiting Anais Nin and Gertrude Stein lighting up the Parisian salons; breathing in the beautiful vibrations of rebelliously confident, liberated, feminist female artists I felt their past as vibrantly as I had felt it 30 years ago in Paris. They saw life in new ways and bravely presented it, no matter if right or wrong.

Life is an exploration.

I discovered that women in past centuries fought to be seen by claiming the art of self portraiture to announce themselves to the world.

My months-long fashion explorations, my outfit performances of my many roles from inner child to broken diva through Instagram selfies is my truth wrapped into theater and it was born in the tradition of women before me daring to reproduce their likeness as art.

“We are art” is revolutionary.

“Every artist paints himself,” said the Renaissance. Himself, not herself. Women weren’t allowed to be successful public figures.

The self portrait became a way for women to present a story about themselves for public consumption; I am a female artist, a worthy woman. They often painted themselves with their tools, their canvas, brushes and paint in the act of proud painting while still being dressed like the proper bourgeois women against whose restrictions they rebelled.

I resist invisibility.

I am devoted to my art. (business, message..)

I deserve to be rewarded for my talents and expertise.

Does this sound familiar?

Hundreds of years ago those self portraits were marketing; to gain painting commissions usually given to men.

The Selfie as marketing of our story is embedded in centuries of women power.

In the 17th and 18th centuries women bravely painted themselves and grew into the 19th century more openly demanding the right to be accepted as valuable artists. It manifested itself in more daring paintings like the one of a group of women drawing a male (!) model. Okay, in the painting he covered his nudeness with a towel….

In the 20th century the taboo of sex and pregnancy was fiercely introduced by Paula Modersohn Becker and Frida Kahlo demanded dignity and respect.

Interested in the subject? Greats book to read are “Seeing Ourselves” by Frances Borzello or Mirror, Mirror by Liz Rideal.

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.  Edgar Degas

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.

Edgar Degas

“The self-portrait is an artist’s most intriguing vehicle for analysis and self-expression. Serving a dual role as both creator and subject, artists are offered unusual freedom.”

Modern daily self-portraits, our often judged as “vain selfies”, offer a journey into our truth; what are we showing to the world and what’s our intention?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, aging needs magic like a totem post.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, aging needs magic like a totem post.

Those of us evolved from showing our pretty ME ME ME just for Ego kicks show the best of our selves in social media, our powerful, entertaining, inspiring and uplifting energies and qualities with the intention to inspire, “ if I can do this, you can too.”

We rarely show the crap of life, maybe mention it as a jumping board into our newly revived power. I cry in secret and show the results of my tears; a new insight. I fret about my wrinkles and write about the new device I got from Nuovaluce, I spill the action I took not the pain.

We have learned to be more real, more authentic yet we show our polished side, not the raw form roughly hammered into the marble but the, sometimes even meticulously, chiseled one. Even when we show our wrinkles we set our selves into scene.

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We move the sculpture of our self creation into the best possible light.

And that is just fine; we have a message, most of us want to make the world a better, not sadder place and - the best possible light might be imperfect beauty in a junk yard. The story we wish to tell requests the form in which it wants to be expressed.

My visuals are who I am, what I see and what life points me too. For my posts I learned to listen, to be guided by messages, comments, post cards, vibrations of outfits, street art and even junk yards. I want to be guided to what truly matters to me and to the best way to inspire others without pleasing the status quo.

When I dare to be me, I feel my inner rebel and the daring women before me. They created themselves when they had the courage for self portraiture. When I deconstruct my images I feel that creative joy and their permission to be different. Gertrude and Anais both tried many approaches around the master pieces of their writing.

The first female selfies were fierce rebellions.

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Our selfies today are rebellions on a different level; women over 50 demand to be seen like the women centuries before us, teenagers demand to be heard as eco-rebels, body shapes ask for acceptance and talents in all arts fight for equality. Women in general are far from being regarded equal.

Deconstructing my pictures is a different level of my truth; they say to have a look, I am the creation of myself.

My IG is my avatar, my alter ego where my cracks and failures, vents and tears are chosen to support my story and message. My authenticity lies in showing you the best of me; from dreams and desires to actual actions of what I fight or live for. My adventures are deep and banal but always make sense in my bigger picture. Of course, I feel first and act before I analyze so surprises of the contrary are part of the deal.

Our power lies in using IG as a rebellious journey; when we explore our true confidence in our talents and virtues not our vices we commit to the virtues, we step into our truth one selfie at a time.

By creating our best on IG we are becoming our best in real life.

I fragment my body and put it together in a new form. My form.

That’s our journey. We take the pieces from decades and create you and me.

We are infinite stories and new inventions.

We are art.

Art is the pursuit of beauty and to express our emotions. In the romantic period spirituality and free expression were celebrated. I’m a romantic but also Avantgarde as I push the boundaries of ideas and creativity in fashion and words. Ageless Rebels celebrate innovative approaches to life-making and the originality of vision is part of it.

Art is the pursuit of beauty and to express our emotions. In the romantic period spirituality and free expression were celebrated. I’m a romantic but also Avantgarde as I push the boundaries of ideas and creativity in fashion and words. Ageless Rebels celebrate innovative approaches to life-making and the originality of vision is part of it.

We are the art… (Nico Vega)

Stand up for what is beautiful,

give it up for the ones who try.

Oh the art is the reason that we came here,

take a bow together we fight.