Trissa on her Series Social Narcissism: Perhaps one of our most fundamental desires is the desire to know who we are. However, the question, “Who am I?” is too big of a question for us to answer simply. Instead, we fraction this primal question into much easier questions: “What do I like? What music do I listen to? Where do I shop? What foods do I enjoy? What speaks to me spiritually?” etc. Today, this question manifests most potently in the different images we post online. Posting images online unveils a truth to our search for identity; it reveals that the true question is not, “Who am I?” But rather, “How do others see me?” Our internet identities show us that the idea of an original, natural “me” free from social influence does not exist. As Christopher Lasch explains,
“to the performing self, the only reality is the identity he/she can construct out of materials furnished by advertising and mass culture, themes of popular film and fiction, and fragments torn from a vast range of cultural traditions.”
With a virtually infinite supply of images at our fingertips, it isn’t difficult to project exactly what we want others to see. Whether we are conscious of it or not, our internet identities are constantly performing for others.
In 2014, I collaged portraits of people out of the images they personally posted online to represent themselves. We “like” pictures, “repost” them, and never stop to consider that this picture may have been produced by a completely different person living a completely different life, irrelevant to our own. No longer is a caramel macchiato just a drink from Starbucks, it’s somehow a fragment of me, “I’m a caramel macchiato drinker.” No longer are The Spice Girls just a British pop group, they’re “One of the 25 Ways I know I’m a 90’s girl.” Everywhere and in everything we can no longer see differences; we can only see ourselves. Because of this, we are the ultimate culture of narcissists.
I never intend to create with a particular audience in mind; my work is more a manifestation of what I’m experiencing now. Each piece helps me understand myself -my flaws and my strengths- a tiny bit more. Regardless of whether or not my work is relatable, I hope it at least allows the viewer the opportunity to reflect as it does for me.
Trissa Dodson is a 23 year old artist living and working in Brooklyn, NY. She earned her Bachelor of Art degrees in studio art and psychology from Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida. When she is not making art, she enjoys spending time with her family, eating at new restaurants, rearranging her apartment, and reveling in the presence of goofy animals. You can find more of her work at trissadodson.com or @trissadodson on Instagram.