Throughout history, many artists, particularly Nikki S. Lee, have studied, and questioned the idea of identity through their art. Specifically with Nikki S. Lee, we can use art to question what identity exactly is and what it means, and whether we are born with a certain identity or whether we actually create our own identies. Many artists, particularly Nikki S. Lee feature this idea in their art, and question whether we portray a certain identity for others, whether we can adopt certain identities for every person, or whether we associate how someone looks with their identity. With the art project I have created, the idea of identity is featured, and how we associate how someone dresses and looks with what kind of person someone is, and give them an identity. My art project also features how people portray themselves for others, and how they themselves establish an identity by purposely dressing in a certain way so people perceive them in a certain way. It is the purpose of this blog, and my art project, to discuss the idea of self identity, how people view one another, how people wish other people to view them, how people can adopt an identity and how art can simulate how people can do all these things with identity.
As stated above, my art project shown has to do with the concept of identity, and how people want to be viewed by others, and how people view others based solely on how they look and dress. My art project deals with a single man, who in fact is the same person in all three photos, but has three different identities all at the same time, based solely upon the time of day, and who he is with. The photo to the top left shows a man sitting on the couch, wearing khakis, a bowling shirt, watching TV with a drink in his hand. This is the identity of a laid back, care free bachelor who just got home from work and is unwinding. Many people would associate this man as someone who is carefree, unwinding from work, and many people, mainly his coworkers, would never see this identity of this man. While shooting this photo, I had a Charlie Sheen like idea for this particular identity. Care free, no worries in the world, just looking to unwind after a busy day. For many people, this is how they would associate themselves and put as their identity on a day to day basis. The second photo, it shows another side of this man’s identity. It shows the work side of his identity, the 9-5, stressed business man or “Yippie” side of his identity. Many people identify this man as a stressed out business man working with a drink right by his side because his job is so stressful. Just based on appearance, people would associate this man with being a business man or a man of high stature. The man pictured may also want people to view him in this light, because he could easily do his work without dressing like this and looking like this. He may just as well identify himself as this business man, and it is in fact apart of his personality. The third picture, on the bottom, is the same man but wearing street clothes, like he is going out for the night on a Saturday night. Same man, but different dress and another identity of his. Just based solely on this picture, he may get judged as a street person, low end job career person. Because of the way he is dressed in this photo, people would identify this person as not a business man, even though he is 9-5 Monday through Friday. The point of all these photos is that it does not matter who the person is, they can adopt and change their identity throughout a day when he or she pleases. A person may have a main identity, but they also can have multiple other identities, based on what they are doing and who they are with, based solely on what they are wearing.
Artists such as Nikki S. Lee dives deep into this concept of identity. Nikki S. Lee does it with her art work, changing her identity multiple times, whether as an African American, a tourist, school girl, or someone from the midwest. Lee shows that we can adopt different identities as we so please, and that we are really not born with a certain identity, and can change it at any time. We can adopt different identities with how we dress, how we speak, and how we act, as long as that identity goes with the norm of the certain subgroup. These artists, and my project show that identity can be created, adopted, and changed, and that people tend to focus more on each others differences rather than each others similarities.