How to take a selfie: Flip the view on your phone and hold it at a high angle, for the sake of making your eyes look bigger and your cheekbones more defined of course. Position your thumb over the button; turn to your best side, and bam. Selfie.
The “self-photo” culture continues to permeate all social media, and has become so much a part of the mainstream that Merriam Webster and Oxford Dictionary named it 2013’s word of the year, only narrowly beating out good ol’ “twerk,” (sorry Miley).
And as selfies only continue to become increasingly commonplace – girls doing duckface, dolled up, half-naked in the mirror, some subtle cleavage shot, or men seeking validation by posting flex pics – the present reality of the world as a digital marketplace, leads us to two considerations when examining selfies: 1) they are a harmless bi-product of a culture of digital immersion, or… 2) they represent growing, widespread narcissism that reeks of attention-seeking.
Ever-evolving artists, Nathalia Pizarro journeys down this self-worth searching road of selfie taking with her new series of paintings where she doesn’t necessarily demonize selfies, but rather explores their narcissistic intentions. Pizarro is a Los Angeles based artist who’s work is informed by a fusion of modernist and surealist modes of thinking. All of her work is a reflection and reaction to her reality, taking elements of her innermost emotions and expressing them through imagery. So it’s no wonder her new series looks to the motivation behind taking a selfie and looking further into their underlying purpose, whether characterized as self-expression and art or merely a means of emotional validation.
How did the idea for this series originate?
The idea originated on and through my experience with Instagram. To be completely honest, I stumbled upon a woman’s Instagram (who’s name I won’t mention) and she declared herself an Artist in her description. Her Instagram was 100% her “modeling” in front of her bedroom mirror in her underwear, lingerie, body suits, swimsuits, Etc.
She had almost 10K likes per post and her follow-ship was around 30K. Being the self-consuming-always-comparing-person I am, and again I’m being brutally honest, I felt kind of embarrassed and inadequate that I didn’t have that kind of following….. That I get about 15 likes per post and frankly no one gives a fuck what I do. So therein is where the idea happened. It was about me searching for validation. So I took her poses and drew them- cellphone, outfits, and hashtags. I wanted to express the truth that we as society and generation are completely obsessed and consumed by VALIDATION. Validate me, see me, and like me. Like, like, like.
Your pieces are kind of dark – what is it about darkness that you connect with?
I am not intentionally trying to be dark. I am only highlighting what already exists. That which exists and always has, and can be dark. The duality of light and dark and the combination of the two is always a great subject and in this case- in my mind, I am taking a what looks like a fun, free, incredibly common “look at me image”; and highlighting that it’s actually quite perverse. It’s perverse and dark in the way that we crave and define ourselves by those images and furthermore allow strangers to judge or “like” whether our existence is noteworthy.
I’m curious about artistic influences. The woman in these new pieces is a really unique character.
Haha – she’s very unique.. she is an artist of course!
What is it like being a female artist right now in LA?
I think it’s great. I adore Los Angeles and am always inspired and in awe of this city. The beautiful rejects it inhabits, and the beautiful rejects that inhabit my life. I am incredibly grateful. There is so much to play with.
You usually use a lot of color in your paintings; how did you come to using only black? Was this intentional? Why? Well in this series It started with ink and paper because this is what was in front of me at the time. It wasn’t intentional, but after I had done 2 or 3 I realized that there was truth to this and I wanted to pursue it.
I would like to take this concept to the canvas and really explore it because it’s still centered around what I love most and that is forms, portraits and people.