"I feel like with art, you can literally do anything. If you don't want to draw ears, then fuck ears. Or you don't want to draw arms, forget it. You could draw nothing. You are just doing what you want to do. It’s totally open."
Your work seems like a marriage of your fascination with the body and medical stuff….
I think that is that line between grotesque and kind of beautiful. I always found the body to be really gross. I never felt like good about it. I always thought it was really disgusting. Eventually I sort of saw the beauty in it, the fact that it’s not perfect, that it’s guts and we are made of all this gross stuff. I think that is really beautiful, that’s what life is all about. It’s all the muck and the stuff.
Are your paintings all self-portraits?
Yeah, literally they are all self-portraits. It’s not all supposed to be looking like me, but I use myself as a reference. And the emotional stuff...from looking at my body it's charged in a way that it wouldn’t be if it was somebody else.
Can you talk about your relationship with your body and how it's changed as you’ve painted yourself?
Yes. Growing up I really hated my body, like a lot. Forever. In college too, it was just the worst thing. I absolutely hated it. In college I really started going through some eating disorder stuff, getting really skinny and isolating myself. And the art always reflects what’s happening. So If you look at the art from that time, it is really grotesque. Skinny but really ugly. You can tell that I am not really feeling good about it or not feeling good about myself at that time. Those are all really interesting.
And now, well, I thought when I was pregnant that that would be a really big time for art and “that must be so interesting," but I did no art when I was pregnant. I did nothing. I think that I was actually just feeling really good about it, and I just felt really good and looked really good. I was really into being pregnant. it was a fun thing. I feel like since having him it’s like my inspiration for art has just totally exploded again. I feel full of all kinds of stuff, and art for me is really important to get out all those feelings of being overwhelmed with stuff—emotional stuff in the body. I now feel better about my body than I ever have, even though it doesn't look as good as it used to look—aesthetically I just like it. You make that choice to like it and to be nice to yourself.
Do you think it's hard for most women to be nice to themselves?
I read about a lot of women who have kids and are like, “Oh, my body doesn't look the way it did before…” and I feel happy that I don't have a time in my memory where I was like “Oh my god, my body is so beautiful” or “I miss those days before….”. I feel like I felt shitty in those days, so I don't miss it and it is what it is and it’s great. And its been a really interesting thing. I feel bad that so many women feel bad after they have kids because it’s so crazy, amazing, and beautiful. And I love bodies that are kid of fat and kind of skinny at the same time and kind of bony and saggy and lumpy. It seems real-er to me. We are not made of plastic. We are made of blood and guts and skin….