3 November 2017

GIRLS WHO LIKE ‘URBAN DECAY' AND SOCIAL THEORY: THE JOY OF ATLEIGH

OBJECT OF THE WEEK

BY: KESANG NANGLU

Halloween is over, and this year I spent my favourite holiday finishing up a mid-term paper and falling asleep with a belly full of Aeros and Kit Kats. Weeks ago, when I still thought I'd be spending my halloween out partying, i.e. before I came to fully realize the level to which I would procrastinate on my assignment, I thought about last-minute costume ideas. My friend, artist Atleigh Homma had me covered.


Homma is a Toronto artist working in painting, video, and performance. Her practice is concerned with issues of identity and feminism, explored through popular culture. Since 2016, she has been creating Youtube videos on her channel, The Joy of Atleigh" (after Bob Ross' legendary instructional TV show, The Joy of Painting"), where she assumes the role of a blogger and beauty guru".

Source.
Using the framework of Youtube beauty culture (and a fair bit of kitsch), her videos recall other new media artists who have broken ground through working within the social media sphere (think Ryan Trecartin's early YouTube videos or Jon Rafman's Kool-Aid Man in Second Life" project). Homma's videos distinguish themselves through their approachability  they combine silliness with sincerity, responding to the social issues that most deeply impact her personal life.

In her GRWM" (Get Ready With Me), she combines a makeup tutorial with a candid discussion of the politics of social climbing in the art world. In What Inspires Me", she gushes about her love of Instagram, name-dropping in her list of inspiring people, Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, sculptor David Altmejd, and photographer, Rineke Dijkstra. As a YouTube personality, Homma rejects the idea that women are ever one-or-the-other  selfie-taking makeup-lovers or smart, critically engaged social theorists.

Costumes For Artists" is a playful examination of the practice of paying homage, and how we risk losing meaning and intention through the act of reproduction. Beginning with a demonstration of how to recreate Matisse's Green Stripe painting with face paint, Homma describes the work like a newbie art-lover (I love the Fauvist movement!"), before abruptly switching gears to an off-beat DIY Dijkstra costume, recommending that viewers don a bikini and stand contrapposto (green screen, optional).

Screenshot still from "Costumes For Artists"

Her final costume has Homma dressing up as contemporary painter and social media celeb Chloe Wise, who has since seen the video and shared her reaction on Instagram (in a sense, bringing it all full-circle):


See other videos from the series on her Youtube channel, and don't forget to like, comment, and subscribe"!

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