I grew up in an environment where physical appearance was paramount. My father worked in the cosmetics and beauty industry from the time I was born, and my family as a whole had an unhealthy outlook on food and weight. As a fat woman, I have struggled to find value in myself when, to me, my looks fell short of their expectations. With all the fashion magazines lying around my house, and the comments I would hear about my body, I became obsessed with the way I looked, and the perceptions I thought others had of me. This self consciousness guided my interactions with friends and romantic partners as I went through high school and college, and I ended up in several abusive and traumatic relationships. After getting out of those relationships, I’ve spent a few years repairing my view on how I exist in the world and teaching myself not to be ashamed of my body. I explore my efforts in my most recent set of paintings, a series of self portraits sharing my recovery from these experiences. I often paint myself nude so I can control how people see my body, where in the past I felt no control at all. The compositions shift between confrontational and suppressed figures, representing the duality of the strength we are “supposed” to feel as survivors of abuse, and the fear and doubt that we carry with us. Bold brushstrokes emphasize my thick flesh, and tender moments in the bathtub are followed by the melodrama of depression and panic. “Murmurs” and “BIG SEXY” are about reclaiming agency over how my body is depicted - I’m sharing my own fat, white, unconventional body, and my life inside of it.