Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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12/12/2003: "Model Art "Angel Star""

In art school I did a research paper on the French artist Orlan. I was disgusted and yet excited by what she was doing using plastic surgery to achieve an idealized form of beauty. "Orlan's facial composite was created by selecting various so-called ideal features from representations of women in the art canon. The characteristics were selected, says Orlan, for what archetypal traits they emblematize, not for their physical attractiveness. She incorporated the nose from a Fountainebleau sculpture of Diana, the mouth from Boucherís Europa, the forehead of da Vinciís Mona Lisa, the chin of Botticelliís Venus, and the eyes of Geromeís Psyche." (From the Art and Culture Network).

I thought she was nuts but really committed to her art. She was called all kinds of things, including that she was really just an ugly person who came up with a scam to get donations so that she could transform herself into a beauty and achieve fame to boot.

Now I happened upon another artist doing the same thing only not nearly as interesting. Model Art. She makes the rediculous point that she has had to make herself beautiful so people could get to know the "real" her.

"I have just used my features to attract the attention I need to get to then invite the interested inside and meet the real me, Soul. All this fuss about the looks and beauty are not at all important for me. The only beautiful thing existing is Soul. All the rest is just the clothes Soul is wearing. Normally I would not have put so much attention to my appearance. But I had to respond to the current ways of society where looks come first. If you don't look the part you will never get a chance to do what you want. In this way I am probably closer to Joan Collins than Orlan."

While I argree that she's closer to Joan Collins than Orlan, how the hell is what she doing "Art". It lacks all the criteria.

Can we say "already been done, MUCH BETTER". I could care less what she chooses to do to her body, I think it's kind of sad actually. I don't feel any hostility towards this woman or anything, I just think it's not very original and she should just call a spade a spade. She wasn't happy with her looks and decided to cave in to societal standards of beauty and the plastic surgery nation and now is trying to elevate it to the level of art. Well, far be it for me to say what is or isn't art but come on!

From her FAQ page:
"Does the visage we are born with fail to produce an accurate 'portrait' of the internal self?

The visage we are born with is pretty much a mix of what we bring down to this life - all the old karmic patterns or the genetic code as a Biologist would call it - our chosen personality, so, yes it does portrait the internal self or personality. "

What the hell is she talking about? I don't even think she knows.

Physical beauty IS worshipped in this society. I've always been aware of its importance, particulary since it is a commodity I've always lacked, but I'm not going to waste thousands of dollars getting a nose job etc. when there is so much poverty in this world and so many other ways that money could go to better use. (and yes, I donate my own money and time to various worthy causes so I can say this with a clear conscience).

I used to do work that was a lot more political and confrontational but it came to a point where I was doing stuff just to get in people's faces or shock them because in this day and age, I thought you needed to do that to be taken seriously as an artist. But after awhile I realized that was just as disingenuous as doing sofa "art".

Then I had to remind myself there were a lot of amazing artists who were just interested in things like form and color (Matisse for example)...they weren't trying to be spiritual or political necessarily, they were just expressing themselves and creating works that appealed to their own inner sense of aesthetic. And that's what I'm doing now, and I don't care if people like my work or not, although I obviously prefer when they do like it (estatic actually) and any artist who says differently is lying.

My back is still killing me, I'm writing this while kneeling, as I can't sit in my desk chair. I can't paint at the moment either, or do much else besides lay around. I am seeing a chiroprator this afternoon so maybe that will help. I'm a little worried about it though because I've never been to one before.