1. excessive pride in one's appearance, qualities, abilities, achievements, etc.; character or quality of being vain; conceit
This project represents a fascination that I have developed with vanity. At what point does pride become excessive? This collection of work began as a conceptual self portrait. As I worked through this project, I started to realize that this is not really a self portrait, rather, an illustration of vanity.
This body of work began with my illustration of the fable, The Fox and the Scorpion, as told by Scarub in the song, It's of My Nature... The premise of the song covers the gambit of this concept, this vanity... it's of my nature.
Several components bring these pieces together to illustrate vanity from my perspective. The use of spray paint in a graffiti-inspired form symbolizes the ill fame that was sought by the early New York graffiti writers. As explained by Eric Felisbret in Graffiti New York, "the objective was not to mark territory, but to dominate it, and, in turn, establish notoriety." Though I initially chose the tag mpulse due to the resemblance that the letters had to my initials: M Hulse, I was certainly satisfied by the way the word describes a facet of my personality. Additionally, the letter M takes the shape of the zodiac sign for Scorpio, which is my astrological sign, and why the story of the Fox and the Scorpion bears so much weight; it is something I can relate to.
I purposely used the tag in excess. This is my art from conception, but I wanted to emphasize this by obnoxiously incorporating my tag. My use of the heavy epoxy resin allows the viewers to see their own reflection in my art, which is my attempt to bring out their vanity.
The collage, The Narcissistic Mermaid, embodies the epitome of this concept. The mermaid admires her reflection in a mirror while the viewers are able to catch a glimpse of their own reflection from the epoxy resin, but my tag, mpulse, scribbled across the canvas creates somewhat of a hindrance. So even though the viewers can see and admire themselves, I was able to interfere. In a similar fashion, I wanted to continue this theme with my breast plate so that the viewers are forced to see their own reflection in a plaster cast from a fragment of my torso.
The imagery used in the collage offers insight into what drove me to work on this project in the first place: music, art, and fashion, mostly from the underground but mixed with a few main stream components... and by immersing the piece with a reflective medium and tagging mpulse, I was able to turn this self portrait into a study of vanity.
And in regard to my initial question, when does pride become excessive? I have not yet reached a conclusion, but I think that Jane Austen says this well; "Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves; vanity, to what we would have others think of us."