The camper and accompanying video reveal my unshakable faith in the notion that happiness can be vacuumed or purchased if you just try hard enough, and through this installation, I make fun of my own feelings of inadequacy. I mimic adulthood, distracting the viewer with excess in the hopes of concealing my own self-consciousness, and the fact that it’s all pretend and that my own home is a disaster. The decoration and excess alternately reveal an anxiety and sadness, and the kitsch and camp stand in for content. My thesis project explores two questions: Do we ever stop “playing house?” Why is there pressure to grow up? My answers lie in my adult memory of the innocently imagined meaning of adulthood I held as a child. Through presentation and critical contemplation, addresses excess and decoration, kitsch and camp, dress-up and drag, anxiety and crying, and punctuated with laughter.
Mixed media, multi media, 2016.
and I can cry if I want to
Crying is something I’m all too familiar with. It’s been very present throughout the entirety of my life, and has even been elevated to a game within my family. It’s practiced on most major holidays and sometimes even during mundane occasions, such as family dinners or in my childhood, parent-teacher conferences. ‘Make Kayla Cry’ is the name of the game, and being the first to do so is the main objective. The prize is my tears. Bonus points if it’s before the completion of the meal or opening presents. My tears aren’t always due to sadness. They seem to be my go-to emotion, whether it be hurt, anger, or from the overwhelming happiness in a situation. I can also be brought to tears through laughing, if hilarity strikes.
The pairing of pastel Easter colors in this nostalgically simplified party setting are merely the set for the short snapshots of hysteria I’ve created. Juxtapositions of content are something that interest me, and where you find the underlying humor within these situations.
Multi media, mixed media, tears, 2015.
I like the facades of things, especially pretty ones. I don’t fit into this category. My 234-pound frame and double chin stare back at me every day with their mocking tone. By building walls of humor and light-hearted comments I beg you to not judge me too harshly. I’m doing enough of that for the both of us.
Mixed media, multi media, digtial print, 2015
The Control Panel
The beginning of grad school brought with it a lot of emotions. Ranging from excited...to terrified. The Control Panel was the culmination of those feelings. Knobs could be cranked up obnoxiously, or down....to be forgotten. Gauges were constantly taking inventory of emotions. Jars were brimming with ingredients of influence and design elements. Golden circuit boards made up the blood and guts. Surveillance cameras voyeuristic-ally watching. Emergency solutions could be found beneath the glass. A hammer at the ready. Sometimes you just need a friend, so call them.
Mixed media, gold, 2014
I want to bear it all. It’s the tugging down of my shirt, the hiking up of my pants, and cutting off of circulation from my socks. I bet you didn’t know someone could be too fat for those. Sometimes I’m afraid of chairs and avoid sitting because I’m terrified it will turn to splinters.
When I’m embarrassed about something I usually tell absolutely everyone about it. Laughing at myself first, means you can’t. I finally allowed myself to feel uncomfortable By doing so I’m attempting to remove the power you might have used to ridicule me.
I feel awkward. I hope you feel the same way.
Multi media, mixed media, glitter, 2015.
Promise You'll Write
The mountains of treasures that had been accumulating in my studio were starting to get on my nerves. People make jokes about hoarding and I nervously laugh off their comments. I have so many things piled up around me that I can’t even begin to list the expanse of what is there. It began affecting the way I work, or couldn’t work because of all the visual and physical stuff. It was time to say goodbye. All of the ephemera was originally collected because I was inherently drawn to it and knew that I could use it for something. Uniting everything in color was my way of spending a little individual time with each prize, and showing the objects as the overwhelming mass they had become.
Going our separate ways was hard. In the end, we went on a long walk and said goodbye by the lake. We swore we’d keep in touch, but I think we both knew the truth. It's time to move on. Walking away was hard. I kept putting it off, trying to spend more time together. I came back the next day to check on you. But you were gone.
Mixed media, multi media, pepto bismal pink paint, 2015.
The synthetic nature of what makes up a cheeto are much like the elements that make up the room. Cheery to the point of disturbing, the room is an environment for not only the Cheetos to live but for the viewer to interact within.
Multi media, mixed media, cheetos, 2014.
I hide dirty dishes in the cupboard when boys come calling, take baby powder showers, binge eat McDonald’s, pick my nose in public, and fear dying alone -with only my hoard of cat figurines to discover my body. In beautifying these universal truths and visually whittling them down to a handful of components, I feel they become something you can laugh about, and own up to.
Bad habits fester and we try to keep them hidden. Luggage, containers, and boxes all have one thing in common. They are meant to organize, store, and hide. But “you never know what someone else’s baggage really is”. We all contain hidden mysteries. Maybe it’s something that embarrasses you, stirs confusion, a secret you’ve never told anyone but your diary about, or unhealthy tendencies that keep perpetuating themselves. What’s funny is that even after acknowledging these qualities, what have I done to change them?