Deanna Wang

Pretty (for an Asian)

Class of: 2023

Major: Communication Design BFA

Medium: Graphite, Digital Collage

Faculty: Linnea Paskow

Prompt: Create a planar self-portrait, then provide context for the portrait with text and environment using layer masks in Photoshop. Consider the ways the environment/language can change meaning. Consider Symbol, Icon, Index.

This piece illustrates the way Eurocentric beauty standards have impacted my sense of racial identity. Written on my self-portrait are things that people have said to me about my appearance. In the purple sections, the comments are considered more negative and blatant, comments that enforce white beauty standards and encourage Asian girls to suppress their “ethnic” features. While in the yellow sections, the comments can be perceived more positively but have unintentional and underlying racist tones, especially in exotifying and fetishizing stereotypically Asian features. The background is a collage of images representing the ways whiteness has been perpetuated as the idealized beauty standard, and the repetition of the text “white is right” highlights the subtle but ever prominent narrative of American culture.

My piece fit the assignment by focusing on the prompt to contextualize a self- portrait. I capture one important aspect of my identity and represented myself authentically. In terms of technicality and media, I fulfilled the assignment using planes and Photoshop.