Today’s watercolor sketch is a preliminary study of a way to express some thoughts and feelings about identity shifting. My own definition of ‘identity shift’ is, the change in self image due to circumstances that have changed in one’s life. For example, when a person is healthy, he or she may have stereotypical ideas about cancer patients. However if one becomes a cancer patient (god forbid), one’s entire identity changes. For a wonderful site about identity shift relating to illness, visit the The Identity Shift Project site built by Jessica Safran a fellow NYU alum and Julie Hassett Sutton, fine art photographer. Similarly, if one loses one’s parents, one does not have an active role as a son or daughter any more. The parents are simply not there any more. Of course, in the latter case much depends on the closeness of the family unit to begin with, but the relationship becomes a phantom one just the same.
I am breaking new ground in terms of age. I know everyone is, but each age group has a list of properties associated with it and, dare I say, defining it. I’m in the ‘Boomer’ generation. In the news, we are starting to die off. We used to be ‘Baby Boomers’ now we are just ‘Boomers’.
Most people have their own definitions of old people. It is a fluid definition to be sure. As one ages out of one category, one reassesses the previous definition. For instance Abbie Hoffman‘s (THE Abbie Hoffman of the 1960s) used to say, “Don’t trust anyone over 30,” during the Vietnam Era; as he aged he changed that to “Don’t trust anyone under 30.”
The study below depicts my inner self looking at my outer shell. The ‘inner child’ icon is ambiguous. Perhaps it is not a child at all but simply a younger-in-years me, without the defining properties of that age category. Am I imagining my shift? Am I accepting the crystallization of the accepted definitions of the category into which I am shifting?
I need to do more thinking, drawing and painting about this.