Woman Crush Wednesday: Rebecca Drolen

Woman Crush Wednesday: Rebecca Drolen

©Rebecca Drolen

©Rebecca Drolen

Words and Photos by Rebecca Drolen

Interview by Xinxin Zhang


“Hair Pieces”

Hair Pieces explores the fickle relationship most have with their body hair. We consider some hair very desirable and grow and groom it with care, while we treat other hair as shameful and cover or remove it. Once hair has become disconnected from our bodies, we treat it with disgust, yet it has an archival, lasting presence that outlives the body and defies death and decay.

I am interested in the line between the beautiful and the grotesque in our connection with hair. I am intrigued by the rules that guide our ideas and self-image in relation to our tresses. In the work, I use photography and the self-portrait as a medium to construct narratives that function both as visual puns and, at times, as social critique. I hope to use the beautiful alongside the repulsive in these images to tell stories of growth and removal as they examine a surreal relationship between hair and its place.

©Rebecca Drolen

©Rebecca Drolen

©Rebecca Drolen

©Rebecca Drolen


You can find out more about Rebecca here.

©Rebecca Drolen

©Rebecca Drolen

Woman Crush Questionnaire:

1.   What is your motivation to make your genre of photographic art? 

I am motivated both by an interest in how women assemble their identities with outward visual markers as well as a distinct love for story telling through images. 

This project, Hair Pieces, explores the fickle relationship most have with their body hair. We consider some hair very desirable and grow and groom it with care, while we treat other hair as shameful and cover or remove it. Once hair has become disconnected from our bodies, we treat it with disgust, yet it has an archival, lasting presence that outlives the body and defies death and decay.

I am interested in the line between the beautiful and the grotesque in our connection with hair. I am intrigued by the rules that guide our ideas and self-image in relation to our tresses. In the work, I use photography and the self-portrait as a medium to construct narratives that function both as visual puns and, at times, as social critique. I hope to use the beautiful alongside the repulsive in these images to tell stories of growth and removal as they examine a surreal relationship between hair and its place.

©Rebecca Drolen

©Rebecca Drolen

2.    How does your cultural background influence your art? 

 Much of my work in Hair Piecesis in direct response to Western ideas of feminine beauty.  Marketing in the United States reinforces that women should be hairless in order to be considered beautiful – or that the only proper place to have long or thick hair is on the head.  Any push against these standards is seen as a subversion, or a personal political stance. 

My work aims to poke at or tease the line of what hair is “good” or beautiful, and what hair is “bad” or disgusting.   It is clear that there are different beauty standards for women versus men when it comes to hair in Western society.  My photographs offer up narratives about a strange or surreal relationship to our own hair.

©Rebecca Drolen

©Rebecca Drolen

3. What is the most difficult thing you have experienced making photos? 

As a professor and mother to a young child, intensive studio time to dedicate to my work is the most difficult aspect of being an artist.  I have learned that devoting the necessary time toward image making has been a matter of discipline and concerted effort. 

©Rebecca Drolen

©Rebecca Drolen

Artistic Lifestyle Questionnaire:

1.   How would you describe your creative process in one word? 

Obsessive

2.    If you would teach one, one-hour class on anything, what would it be?

I am a professor and teach two 3-hour photography classes every week, so if I could teach something more specific to my practice, perhaps it would be about self-portraiture in all mediums and how to infuse your own presence or performance into the work that you make. 

3.    What was the last book you read or film you saw that inspired you?

While it is not the most recent, I always come back to the movieHerwhere Joaquin Phoenix’s character falls in love with an operating system.  The movie is visually very soft, simple, and beautiful, but more importantly, I love how a complicated relationship is established entirely through dialogue. Without any physicality, the characters go through many familiar stages of relationships – from being enamored to outgrowing one another and moving on. There is a sense of being dis-embodied, which in a strange way, peaks my interest as an artist that is mostly compelled by looking at the body.

©Rebecca Drolen

©Rebecca Drolen

4.    What is the most played song in your iTunes Library?

I don’t really use iTunes!  But, my most played album in the studio is Last Splashby the Breeders

5.    How do you take your coffee?

With cream, no sugar

©Rebecca Drolen

©Rebecca Drolen

©Rebecca Drolen

©Rebecca Drolen

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