The roots of this project began with my involvement in comics. I started producing a series of comics in 2009, and took a year off from Harvard to self-publish them with a grant from the University. I created two self-portrait characters – called Monty and Whalegirl – and published five issues of work featuring these characters. When I returned to school, I developed a character that was a straightforward representation of myself; I named her “Kayla.” “Kayla” was used in a series of one-page comics, as well as several three-dimensional cube and pillar comics that I produced in early 2012. During that summer I made a series of large-scale painted comics featuring “Kayla” and another three-dimensional cube comic exploring moments of her everyday life. She shopped for a t-shirt, she flipped through TV channels, she slept all day.
That fall I decided to create a full-blown project investigating “Kayla” and her relationship to myself, the artist. For this project, I have built a “Kayla” costume, complete with a giant head mask and fat suit, and have constructed an environment for her to exist in. I built a small, empty room painted entirely in pink (referencing the first comic this cartoon iteration of “Kayla” appeared in). In this room, I shot a series of photos of “Kayla” in poses reminiscent of high school graduation shots. I also filmed a series of videos in which “Kayla” performs several tasks that are in dialogue with the conflict between cartoon and reality; the self and the representation of the self. I then cut these videos down to a few seconds in length, set them to loop, and started to experiment with their display. After an experimentation with The Harvard Monday Gallery in which I projected the works in experimental ways, I moved the works to the room in which they were filmed. The projections are constantly evolving, and each time they are set up, I make new discoveries.
"Kayla's Favorite Pose", 2013
"Kayla Takes Off Her Shirt", GIF, 2013
"Kayla Chooses A Shirt", GIF, 2013
"Kayla Stands", 2013
"Kayla Smears" inkjet print of backside of photo paper, 8.5" x 11", 2013
"Portrait of Kayla Standing With Her Head Down",
house paint, ink, and oil stick on paper,
50" x 120"
"Portrait of Kayla Sitting in Profile",
house paint, ink and oil stick on paper,
50" x 35"
"Kayla Transfers (I-III)", acetone transfers on paper, each panel 22.5" x 30"
"Kayla Takes Off Her Shirt",
single channel video, television
dimensions variable, 2013