We, as humans, force smiles on our faces even when we're feeling sad. Masking one’s emotions has become commonplace, so much so that phrases like “putting on a brave face” and “fake it ‘til you make it” have become words of support. But what happens when true feelings and emotions slip through? How easy is it to see when people are concealing their true selves? Does it come down to a simple slip of the finger or is it deeper, involving the inner workings of the heart?

In my sustained investigation, I began by exploring the idea that dsplacing body parts and drawing them separately from bodies shows how emotions can feel disconnected. I transitioned to digital images, displaying a woman grabbing scraps of eyes, a nose, ears, and a mouth to hint at the idea that sometimes even separating parts of yourself and analyzing them can’t actually piece together what’s broken. Despite hard work, sometimes a mask can’t be broken. One piece depicts a hand straining against a plastic wrap. This led to the idea of an outside entity forcing the creation of this mask, which in turn created the idea of a hand puppeting a realistic heart. Incorporating different body parts shows that a mask can exist everywhere on the body. I finished by exploring faces and how expressions and different parts of the face can be masked but still seen. Hands cover faces but the parts underneath – like a mouth – are still visible through the hand. 

These final pieces sum up my work: how a mask can be used and how one’s true self filters through. There are so many outside opinions on how we should act and appear, when our inner self is most important. Our own hands can stifle ourselves, so it is inevitable that some pieces of who we are shine through. The ultimate goal is to eliminate emotional masks entirely in order to be free of expectations and stop hiding.