Artist Statement

MAKE ME FEEL GOOD is a series of self-portraits, still lifes, and photographic objects which centralize around gender, identity, and femininity within a digital cosmos through the lens of a modern pornography webscape — OnlyFans. This work examines the heightened ways in which the pornographic industry has contemporaneously shifted from the male gaze to one which is of the consumer to uphold inequality and hyper-sexualization for capital gain. With a range of methods, this series infiltrates the consumer gaze through the use of imagery and research mined from the OnlyFans site. The work utilizes analog collage to sew appropriated images into environments and costuming, a reference to the material flatness and plasticity of the OnlyFans ethos. Merging the infinite, intangible digital space with crudely physical space, this series dissects the implications of the bedroom studio, as it pertains to private space turned public and the fragility of false empowerment. A cardboard stage set is tethered by visible fishing line, artifacts of the bubblegum-colored studio are erected as a paper monument - existing only long enough for its inhabitant’s performance. MAKE ME FEEL GOOD utilizes interactive objects to directly reference and problematize the act of looking. When the viewer’s eye asserts gaze upon the subject, it is obstructed, first, by an aperture-like peephole and, second, by a ring light. While exuding the desire to look, the viewer is recorded and casted onto a screen which they cannot see much like a webcam. This system denies viewing access, while projecting an exploitative gaze at the looker - redistributing power from viewer to subject.

About the Project

  • Title of Work: MAKE ME FEEL GOOD
  • Medium: The work consists of three 24"x36" framed photography prints and one interactive photographic sculpture.
  • Student's Name: Kylee Isom
  • Major: Art
  • Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2023
  • Hometown: West Plains, Missouri, United States of America
  • Student's Mentor: Joe Johnson
  • Mentor's Department: Photography