The subject of personal identity in human beings has never before been raised on such a universal level as it is in today’s world. “Identity” is a person’s brand; it is the singular tool, which expresses both promotion and self-reflection. In sheer availability, the scope of that expression is larger and further reaching than ever. With social media, we are encouraged to indulge in self-obsession, and led to believe that, the more we do it, the closer we get to the truths of our being. This personal pursuit, however, is also a public spectacle, and so those who perform it most interestingly are generally the ones rewarded with some form of closer study on a massive scale; the results can be positive or negative. In other words, those who understand best how to correlate the technology available with the attention they receive, or those who are most unabashed in their public performances, are the ones most likely to move their “brand of identity” onto broader platforms of promotion. However, truly achieving the self-reflective aspect of one’s very publicized identity can be a trickier struggle, and one that seldom few, if any, might actually achieve.
For her series, SKIN, artist Krista Valdez seeks not the self-referential spotlight that motivates most actors on the social media stage, but rather a true peeling-back of the layers. As an introspective woman in a culture that sexualizes or asexualizes everything feminine, Valdez takes the extreme risk to lay it all bare- her body, her emotions, her desires. But for her to assess and define, not for others. She is not running away; she is confronting the issue of “who is Krista really versus who Krista has been molded to be?” What does the true self look like? It is worth also noting that the catalyst for this exploration is pain. The artist has lost something/someone, and thereby been pushed to discover what of herself remains.
“The process of discovering my skin was an extension of a two-year sculptural examination of past experiences that influenced the choice I made to suppress my inner self. SKIN became an understanding of my vulnerabilities in their rawest form; pure, unfiltered expositions of my thoughts and past situations that manipulated my social abilities. Simultaneously giving power to my previously muted emotions. By elevating my desires, fears, inadequacies, and anxieties as formal introductions to my identity, I was able to separate experience and visceral reaction. ”