4 Minute Intro

Katie Strader

BFA Thesis

4 Minute Intro With Talking Points

My project for Thesis encompases a variety of topics such as boundaries, relationships, and vulnerability, but it can be distilled down to one basic idea, empathy. In point, my own ability to have empathy for myself. The driving force behind this project began with my previous text based works that involved intensive journaling. Through that process I realized that my self-censorship ran deeper than just keeping my mouth shut. I discovered a strong self-resentment surrounding my inability to reconcile what I felt was logical with what others viewed as acceptable. I tried to rigorously adhere to rules. Because I can I understand (mostly) a set directions. Social norms have never felt normal to me especially as I watch others flippantly ignore rules without consequence. And my uncensored thoughts and actions always result in a backlash that confounds me, Because of this, i replay interactions in my head and eventually end up demonizing myself because the irrationality of everything. Why am I wrong when adhering to rules? But there’s something wrong here, and it must be me, I’m the common denominator. It’s exhausting to hate myself for being me, especially as the more honest part of me doesn’t believe my thoughts are wrong, maybe just my actions are? My thoughts themselves are perfectly logical. Therefore, this work is a platform for me to practice empathy in my actions as I break rules. As I force the discomfort I feel outward, it becomes less acute. This keeps it from suffocating me with self-doubt and self-loathing. I’m cultivating a method of personal acceptance as I try to alter my relationship with myself (as well as I can) and the perceptions of others relationships with me. These are relationships that have been disrupted by walls I’ve erected to protect the anonymity of my thoughts and avoid attack. I feel as though everyone is standing outside me, myself included, and as I watch in confusion how others interact with those walls, I keep questioning whether I’ve placed them there to hold an enemy back or hold one in. In the past I was actively trying to reshape myself to please others as a daughter, sister, friend, wife, mother, student, and artist, but I’ve come to understand that the only wrong thing about my thinking is my thinking that all of my thinking is inherently wrong. This work explores that idea of accepting my ideas as well as challenging any crutches that I’ve provided for myself within a poisonous self narrative.

So, this project is about being ok in the experience of being me, blurring that line between private and public, personal, and communal. I’m exploring the fluidity of boundaries, such as the edges of the canvas, and the right of a painting to occupy space in the world and by extension, my right. I’m exposing bits of myself that I previously viewed as wrong, as mistakes, or as character defects. This is about self-acceptance in a visual way. This is about laying myself bare. To this end I’ve immersed myself in the idea of being constantly on display, literally exposed; working in a communal space, filming every minute of my studio time, posting honest and vulnerable diary entries online, and doing live videos while I work. I’ve actively invited others into my space, damn the consequences. And I’ve opened myself up to public failure, public ridicule, and ironically, private attacks, all of which I’m learning to understand in a new way by imposing altered methods of thought onto them. My personal vulnerability and corresponding growth is, I hope, evident in the work. I hope the viewer can empathize with the condition of the narrative and therefore with me.

For this critique, I would like discuss

  • The success of the work as a whole
  • Areas of the work that are unsatisfying
  • Concepts that need to be reworked

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