Photos I’ve Liked, is a series of sublimation dye prints that explores everyday posts collected from Instagram. This work studies the superficiality and artificiality of the today’s society, and uses this “likeable” space to grapple with existential meaning.
The images are derived from participants of social media, real people out there in the world who have chosen to publish their photos for public consumption.
Because these appropriated images are posts that I have actually “liked”, the use of them takes on a deeper personal meaning. The hours spent scrolling and liking images on my iPhone has generated a strange sense of ownership over the images. My process of collecting the images is not complicated. I like images for the same reasons that I usually would (a cute cat, beautiful landscape, successful artwork, delicious-looking food, good photo of a friend, good photo of myself, funny meme, etc). I follow people whom I have taken a liking to for one reason or another, then collect and categorize images into a database. Daily Instagram use continues to build an endless library of source material.
This work intentionally plays with the superficiality and artificiality of the subject matter to get at something more significant and real. Pseudo-celebrity Kittens, Salt Bae, rainbows, mountains, waterfalls, and a dog swimming with dolphins create a comfortable space to come to terms with more daunting concepts such as: origin, birth, freedom, purity, death, transcendence, spirituality and existence.
Each work is numbered in sequence. As one composition is completed, it is given a digital gold frame and is placed in the next composition, creating a “hall-of-mirrors” effect as each composition becomes increasingly more complex. The result of which is a confusing or disorienting situation in which it is difficult to distinguish between truth and illusion or between competing versions of reality.
Scrolling through and analyzing one’s seemingly endless stream of “likes” can be a self-awareness routine. It is a mirror-check, revealing one’s social-media-immersed reflection. I want a viewer of this work to consider the meaning of the arranged elements, and to explore the magic hall of mirrors within our increasingly shared social media culture.