Digital Art Series:  I’ll Hold the Hope Hope for You Until You Can


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Artist Statement

In 1998 I was trapped inside a burning car; each second is still etched in my memory. I nearly lost my right arm due to burns that destroyed tissue down to the bone on my shoulder, while my back and most of my right side were subsequently heavily grafted. And through the journey of healing, I have been transformed. I now see how life has bestowed a gift of hope upon me, allowing me to move through the world in a child’s reverie, excited, poised and hopeful about what is around the corner at every moment.

I love the idea of sharing myself and connecting to others through art. Self-portraits allow me to explore and express my most intimate thoughts and emotions. The experience becomes physical - it's as if I'm extracting something from deep inside myself, giving it form and color, encouraging it to take on its own life. I feel that I'm sharing my secrets and, though I am a private person, I feel safe to be open, vulnerable, and honest in the arena that art inhabits. It's a place where healing unfolds and love is magnified. It's where I feel most alive. My hope is that my artwork will be a vehicle for others to feel inspired, comforted, seen and touched.

The pieces that express my fears and uncertainty are almost always cloaked in ironic humor. In The Gift of Hope print series, I use familiar images of beauty from movie and war posters. The woman in the posters seems objectified, but the unexpected presence of disfigurement causes the viewer to pause. How can this woman be smiling? How does a person move beyond pity and judgment? What is beauty? The process of this questioning becomes a uniting force - showing the viewer the fragility of ideals and the possibilities that arise when we begin to accept our imperfections.

The woman in the print is smiling, laughing, brave. She is joyful. She is a Super Hero, a Blonde Bombshell, a Hollywood Film Secret Agent, a Woman. She is not weighted by the constraints that society would place upon her. She no longer needs to behave. She has found her freedom.  Her smile and her strength transcend from the freedom of being more than just her body.

My desire to belong inspired the creation of this series of prints. I felt rebellious; I was determined to find a place for myself to stand. The prints demonstrate that beauty still exists. They are a defiance. This artwork embraces the hope of triumph over judgment and the knowing that I am not my body.

Allison Massari

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