Lucretia Tye Jasmine’s Artist Statement

I write about and make art of what some may disregard, or consider ugly or broken, to engage a looking with the overlooked, and to show the beauty in the nontraditional and nonconforming.

Growing up, I felt like an ungirl in a small town where girl girls were everywhere I looked.

My family was unstable, my physical appearance was not fashionable, and I usually felt anxious and rejected. Art made me feel better. Drawing, writing, and reading were my trusted friends – as they still are, alongside animals, winged critters, and sea life.

In my art and writing, I can be found. My reason for doing this is to situate myself where I have felt absent: In the middle of desire, and as author of it. What has confounded me in this authoring of desire has been the physical fact of my being. I’ve felt like an ungirlfreak. Fatsosad and I wore glasses. Surrounded by girls whose bodies took up as little space as their voices. Not the tiny Barbie I figured I was supposed to be. This made me feel even worse when I felt desire; I felt like I was not allowed. But I only felt this way when I imagined how I was seen. And in making art and in writing, I forget myself even as I become more myself. I also make art and write because I don’t know what else to do with all these feelings and thoughts. I am authoring myself.

Forming language – both visual and verbal – has been like forming desire: I don’t fit (in). Because I am a woman, and because I’ve been fat. As with male desire in films and most exhibited artwork, in most published writing there’s no room for women’s desire except as object of desire. Never subject but subjected to. The ghost of woman embodied in the distant but definite description of her insulted form. Insults, and sexualized descriptions – it is the woman who is mocked in language. It may be true that as objects and never subject, women are thus outside of language, never able to enter it, only to be entered through it. A ghost author simultaneously elevated and demeaned until she writes herself and makes herself manifest. So I am language forming.

Men’s words can turn me on, their videos their books their music their looks. But then I am outside of the discourse – their lyrics their words their status their positioning – their portrayal of women is one I don’t want, and one I am not. It’s so aggravating. To put it mildly! Getting turned on by the music in a song whose lyrics put me down. By the words in a book that scribble me out. A film whose pictures set me up. An advertisement erasing me. Turning on the TV a shock like looking in the mirror – no rock star sparkling for you girl. But, as my mom says, to be on the pedestal means to be kicked off it too.

Animals, winged critters, and sea life have been revered and exploited in ways similar to the ways girls and women have been treated. My art and my writing examine and challenge that ruinous domination.

So I want to be the author of my own desire, and I want to feel it no matter what I look like. I want to have fun too! I want to know the language. The swagger, the assertion! The insistence. To take up space like a man, or a subject. Someone who writes, who makes art! Someone who authors desire!