He Wears, She Wears, They Wear

When I was a kid, I used to flip through fashion magazines and I always found myself focusing my attention on the text at the bottom corner of the page that described the model's garments. It was clearly the birth of my conceptual art practice! In 2003, I made my first He Wears text painting in oil on canvas as a conceptual self-portrait. Since then, these works of art have evolved into digital prints on paper and have expanded to include She Wears and They Wear. While these portraits seem to depict a simple message written in text, it also goes beyond the surface by highlighting ideas of gender, consumption, access, and fantasy.

I always approach my portraits as a storyteller who develops the subject’s identity. I think about the subject in a chaotic manner: what’s their history, what are they wearing, what’s their attitude, why are they posing for a portrait, etc. When I create self-portraits, I ask myself the same questions and explore the variety of possible answers through my body gestures, facial expressions, and costuming. Here in the He Wears, She Wears, They Wear series, I get to play even more — I get to go shopping and imagine a subject as a conspicuous consumer. But I let the viewer complete the story by imagining the details of the person beyond the surface of their clothes — how are they posing, what do they do in life, what color is their skin, and what do they dream about?