“On a scale of 0-10, what is your pain level at today?”
To accurately answer this question, you must first have a concept of what is 0 and what is 10 as Eula Biss writes in her article, “The Pain Scale.” For me, I can’t pick a number. I don’t have a concept of what 0 is, what 10 is, or even what a 5 is. But I can show you visually what my pain feels like. It’s an uncomfortable pattern wrapped tightly around my muscles. It’s a constant movement of interconnecting wires forcing my body to fold into itself. It’s the exhaustion of repeating my story to strangers, being sure to choose my words carefully so that they understand.
I created this series to express my ongoing journey with chronic pain and its limiting characteristics that go unseen. I use media such as digital art to explore the relationship between beauty and pain, self-healing and acceptance. Throughout my process of creating this body of work, I struggle to find a symbol or visual representation that could accurately convey and embody what it is I am experiencing yet not seeing. This concept and what I use to visualize my pain is still ever changing as does the pain I experience.
I provoke the viewer to question the stigma behind disability and what it is perceived to be. To me, the most important thing is changing the social constructs of disability and chronic pain. These constructs often steer us away from understanding disability rather than discussing it. I want my art to be a part of leading that discussion.