8 x 8 Self Portrait Exhibition (July 20- August 11, 2018) / by Hayden Michelle

"And in Finding Her Parts, She Discovered She Had Always Been Whole", (6 x 7.5 x 3 inches), 2018

When the call for submissions of self-portraits came from Art NXT Level, a wonderful community that supports the furthering of one's work and connects artists all over the world, I jumped at the chance to create art with this foundation.  Although my work is always tied to my inner world, it felt good to reflect in a very focused way on where I am at this juncture in my life.  Having just photographed many fragments of butterfly wings, I had inspiration waiting (actual photographs, below)...

As per my usual process, I printed the macro work out onto fabric, and layered them up with multiple layers of encaustic medium, cut them to shape, carved the detail into each piece, sculpted them to shape, layered them again with medium, and hand-colored the detail that was lost to the many layers of wax.  I then experimented with the placement of the wings, and began the integration through sewing of wings.

These two photos show how much the detail is lost with the waxing... leaving an opportunity (and task!) to interpret with the recoloring and carving. The carving is one of the more enjoyable parts of the process, despite its time-consuming and hand/wrist-taxing nature.  I find it very meditative.

The artwork changes dramatically with every angle, as sculpture does-- that is one thing I love about the dimensionality... it mirrors the diverse nature of ourselves, as well.

(alternate view, eye-level)

(alternate view, aerial)


(detail, stitching juncture)

(alternate view)

(alternate view, aerial)

I benefited deeply from engaging with this sculpture, and felt gratified and relieved when the title came to me, encompassing years of hard work, inside and out, to create this integrated piece.  Although it took courage to post the genuine title of the piece, I am glad I could own it.  After all, we are all composed of many diverse parts that are to be celebrated...

Although I am not able to attend the opening in person, I am sure it will be a full and exciting gathering which honors the distinct voices of the many artists represented there.  Much gratitude to Sergio Gomez, powerful artist and curator of the exhibition, along with Dr. Yanina Gomez, founders of the Art NXT Level organization.  

8 x 8 Self-Portrait Exhibition

Friday, July 20, 2018, (7-10 pm CDT)

Art NXT Level Projects/33 Contemporary

Zhou B Art Center

1029 W 35th Street

Chicago, IL 60629