EXCERPT FROM THE AUTHOR’S TEXTS / My artwork encapsulates my ongoing battle with myself, while trying to highlight the problematic elements within our culture that influence one’s self-perception from a young child, into adult life.
The work featuring 3D heels is called The Fantasy Heels. The heel part is a dildo, and the heels are so tall that wearing them would hurt severely. They are situated under a stairway to heaven to add to the fantasy aspect. (Perhaps it’s not actually heaven or perhaps religion has played a part in the control and objectification of women.)
The piece titled In a Barbie World displays a pill packet with ‘magic’ pills that will morph your body/face into society’s ‘ideal’ beauty stereotype, linking this to Barbie dolls that are notorious for representing unrealistic standards.
Another work displays Barbie themed implants that are again referencing Barbie
dolls. This vision is based on an ironic future fantasy where standards are further risen,
resulting in unnecessary bodily adaptations such as glow in the dark breast implants that are ‘all the rage’. The woman looks ill because she probably is. I want to mention that I am not
completely against surgery, I am just trying to distinguish the line between self-actualisation and self-objectification, which for me is very blurred and conflicting, and so this confliction and hypocrisy is displayed in my work.
The Untitled piece represents my struggle with drug addiction and escapism that many people experience in a less ‘dangerous’ way, e.g. shopping addiction, food addiction. etc.
I think about escaping every day. The coverage of drug addiction is not wide
enough if at all in the art industry, and drug addicts are easily condemned and misunderstood.
The composition called Designer Vagina is an extension of the Barbie-themed implants where the ideal woman is morphing into an alien-like body, in which the skin is not even recognisable as human skin. This is a concept of a surgical procedure where the skin is transformed and the vagina ‘cleared out’, leaving ‘necessary’ components such as a hole. The removal of the clitoris (my personal favourite aspect of my own vagina) represents the extent women are willing to suffer in order to conform to the male gaze. Depriving all pressure in pursuit of male approval.
Another Untitled piece is ‘a hand-stretched alien skin’ with a Pegasus tattoo on a decorative metallic frame. The hand stretched aspect is me telling you that I am not innocent and that I still want to participate in objectifying actions (such as waist training) and exhibit the results. The alien skin perhaps being my own body? I’m unsure who owns the skin. The tattoo and frame both refer to an innocent child and or adult, a unicorn decorated in flowers, yet the combination of the skin and brutality corrupts the innocence.
INTERVIEW WITH THE ARTIST
Could you describe your creative process for us?
Sometimes, I begin with a vague idea and sometimes it’s more specific. I now allow for flexibility when developing my ideas, whereas before, if the initial idea didn’t work out, I would start catastrophizing (lol). I’ve found I generally orientate towards more content-specific ideas instead of the vague ones but not always. The process has to be enjoyable and experimental otherwise I become bored.
Are there still some limits to the digital realm that you would like to overcome?
Definitely, with most artist practises, you are limited by skill but also by finances, and so due to digital art being relatively new, it doesn’t receive financial compensation for lower-income individuals (i.e. most artists). And not only that – it requires a lot of high-tech software and hardware, which sucks financially-wise.
Do you feel like the future of art will play out increasingly more on the digital level?
Yes, digital art is not only a better environmental option but also much more accessible to everyone.
How do you envision the future of this planet, art-, environment- or humanity-wise?
I don’t see it going well, to be honest with you. *a crying emoji* Art will continue to grow into many exciting forms, the world perhaps not so much.
Staying on the matter of ecology, does the subject of climate change show up in your work?
It doesn’t at the moment as I am preoccupied with my own identity, which in itself might be an indicator as to why the planet is suffering so terribly. *skull* On the other hand, I am vegan and recycle and have a really cute basil plant (lol). So, hopefully, I can make a positive impact in that area for now.
What is the main theme of your artworks?
My ideas are centred around identity, feminism, and self-destructive behaviours. If I were to choose one theme, it would be the struggle for sexual freedom in a biased society – what does this even mean? And my experiences with surgery resonate.
Your work seems closely connected to body design, liquid aesthetics, and the sexual positions of your avatars are put in the spotlight. Can we look for a specific meaning behind these attributes?
My work is very ironic and a lil bit dark. I’m using irony to express my complicated feelings towards my physical appearance and the forever heightening beauty standards/unconscious beauty biases.
Are you currently preparing any exhibitions or projects we can look forward to?
Yes! I have two upcoming exhibitions in London, the first takes place between 5th and 11th November with @theholy.art in Hackney and the second in @boomergallery in Tower Bridge will run from 12th to 18th November.
BIO / Hebe Riches-Wohlrab AKA 3834
London born, growing up in England and Gibraltar, the artist has faced many difficulties with how does she look(ed). The beauty bias is something Hebe discovered when she was too young to even know what plastic surgery was, she just knew she wanted her whole face removed in place for a beautiful one. According to Hebe, she managed to achieve a new face and have reaped the benefits from it ever since, which is overall a very sad reflection on our culture. But despite the transformation, she still hated herself. Although, luckily, she has now managed to partially escape the vicious self-deprecating cycle of valuing herself based on what she sees in the mirror and in turn decided to focus her relentless perfectionism onto her artwork instead.
Artworks / Hebe @3834art @3834hebe
Interview / Markéta Kosinová @__maarketa__