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In my series, Beautiful Madness, I explore the compulsion an artist has to create, even when the process is messy, often depressing, and sometimes maddening. I’m interested in those moments when we are on the verge of completely breaking down, when it seems futile to keep trying, when we might give up.

I’m curious about this self-doubt, this frailty and failure, but also this drive toward self-expression that seems to have a very real power over us. We become something of a slave to the madness, perhaps ignoring other parts of our lives in our pursuit of new ideas. What does it look like? How does it feel? 

To create the work, I chose to use one space, my own room, since it can be my creative sanctuary but also my asylum. For each photograph I worked to create the reality of being obsessed, consumed or undone. To this end, I asked a lot of my models. They committed to being wrapped in, covered by, and buried under my fabrications. 

I have saved the pieces, the fabrications, I created for each image, like all of the gold yarn I used to wrap the piano, all the matches I burned and the six trash bags full of crumpled paper, most of it hand-stained with tea and coffee. In the exhibition, these elements are included, installations to accompany the images. If you look at each image carefully, you’ll see that the images connect to one another through these elements and through the blue paint used repeatedly. I’ve saved blue-stained clothing worn by models and my blue fingerprints are on Polaroids taken while I was shooting. 

With this work, I want to acknowledge that very moment when a person could either sink into despair or begin to look for redemption. There is beauty to be found in the unravelling.

All originals are printed on smooth, archival Epson Hot Press Bright art paper with two-inch white border on all sides. Each piece will be signed and numbered on the back and shipped with a certificate of authenticity.

Editions/Sizes

42.8x60  |  ed. of 3
35.7x50  |  ed. of 7
21.4x30  |  ed. of 15
14.3x20  |  ed of 30
In my series, Beautiful Madness, I explore the compulsion an artist has to create, even when the process is messy, often depressing, and sometimes maddening. I’m interested in those moments when we are on the verge of completely breaking down, when it seems futile to keep trying, when we might give up.

I’m curious about this self-doubt, this frailty and failure, but also this drive toward self-expression that seems to have a very real power over us. We become something of a slave to the madness, perhaps ignoring other parts of our lives in our pursuit of new ideas. What does it look like? How does it feel? 

To create the work, I chose to use one space, my own room, since it can be my creative sanctuary but also my asylum. For each photograph I worked to create the reality of being obsessed, consumed or undone. To this end, I asked a lot of my models. They committed to being wrapped in, covered by, and buried under my fabrications. 

I have saved the pieces, the fabrications, I created for each image, like all of the gold yarn I used to wrap the piano, all the matches I burned and the six trash bags full of crumpled paper, most of it hand-stained with tea and coffee. In the exhibition, these elements are included, installations to accompany the images. If you look at each image carefully, you’ll see that the images connect to one another through these elements and through the blue paint used repeatedly. I’ve saved blue-stained clothing worn by models and my blue fingerprints are on Polaroids taken while I was shooting. 

With this work, I want to acknowledge that very moment when a person could either sink into despair or begin to look for redemption. There is beauty to be found in the unravelling.

All originals are printed on smooth, archival Epson Hot Press Bright art paper with two-inch white border on all sides. Each piece will be signed and numbered on the back and shipped with a certificate of authenticity.

Editions/Sizes

42.8x60  |  ed. of 3
35.7x50  |  ed. of 7
21.4x30  |  ed. of 15
14.3x20  |  ed of 30
I hand-stained and wadded up all this paper. Some of it is actually pulled from my own notebooks of shitty ideas.
Polaroid shot of me writing on the model for this shoot.

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Death By A Thousand Shitty Ideas  1/15 - Limited Edition of 15

VIEW IN MY ROOM

Death By A Thousand Shitty Ideas 1/15 - Limited Edition of 15 Photograph

Christie Stockstill

United States

Photography, Color on Paper

Size: 30 W x 21.4 H x 0.1 D in

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About The Artwork

In my series, Beautiful Madness, I explore the compulsion an artist has to create, even when the process is messy, often depressing, and sometimes maddening. I’m interested in those moments when we are on the verge of completely breaking down, when it seems futile to keep trying, when we might give up. I’m curious about this self-doubt, this frailty and failure, but also this drive toward self-expression that seems to have a very real power over us. We become something of a slave to the madness, perhaps ignoring other parts of our lives in our pursuit of new ideas. What does it look like? How does it feel? To create the work, I chose to use one space, my own room, since it can be my creative sanctuary but also my asylum. For each photograph I worked to create the reality of being obsessed, consumed or undone. To this end, I asked a lot of my models. They committed to being wrapped in, covered by, and buried under my fabrications. I have saved the pieces, the fabrications, I created for each image, like all of the gold yarn I used to wrap the piano, all the matches I burned and the six trash bags full of crumpled paper, most of it hand-stained with tea and coffee. In the exhibition, these elements are included, installations to accompany the images. If you look at each image carefully, you’ll see that the images connect to one another through these elements and through the blue paint used repeatedly. I’ve saved blue-stained clothing worn by models and my blue fingerprints are on Polaroids taken while I was shooting. With this work, I want to acknowledge that very moment when a person could either sink into despair or begin to look for redemption. There is beauty to be found in the unravelling. All originals are printed on smooth, archival Epson Hot Press Bright art paper with two-inch white border on all sides. Each piece will be signed and numbered on the back and shipped with a certificate of authenticity. Editions/Sizes 42.8x60 | ed. of 3 35.7x50 | ed. of 7 21.4x30 | ed. of 15 14.3x20 | ed of 30

Details & Dimensions

Photography Print:Color on Paper

Artist Produced Limited Edition of:15

Size:30 W x 21.4 H x 0.1 D in

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Delivery Time:Typically 5-7 business days for domestic shipments, 10-14 business days for international shipments.

There is a space between the mundane and the mythical where I’d like my images to reside. Larry Sultan refers to it as “that ambiguity…between the ordinary and the surreal or the extraordinary.” Like Sultan, I prefer to find that in what already exists rather than to create a set or build it in Photoshop. There is plenty of magic in the everyday if one pays attention, and it doesn’t have to be bold and busy. It can be still and quiet, hinting at a narrative, as in the work of Joyce Tenneson, Cig Harvey, William Eggleston, and Vivian Maier. As much as, or probably more than other photographers, though, my influences are literary. The presence of grace or magic in the ordinary characters and situations of a Flannery O’Connor or John Updike story dabble in the realm of the absurd in a quotidian setting. Like so many enduring stories, with my work I attempt to investigate and better understand what it means to be human: a recognition of otherness as well as of self. I am still blown away that other people will commit so intently to helping me bring an idea to life. With my first series, Beautiful Madness, I buried friends in crumpled paper, covered them in writing and paint, wrapped them in yarn and burned their fingertips with matches in an effort to depict the obsession and frustration that can consume a creative person who is unable to create. For my part, I spent two days staining and crumpling paper until my hands were cut and bleeding. I wrapped an entire piano (and my husband) with yarn, pulled up the carpet in my room and wallpapered two walls just to peel it all off and leave it in strips on the floor. When I begin considering a new project, I think about what I want to know about the subject, how I might translate that visually, and what new perspective I could offer. What can I do in the physical realm to prevent having to do it in post-processing? This part of the process takes a long time, sometimes months or a year of meditation and contemplation for me to make the first picture. Often, I have to force myself to schedule the first shoot before I feel ready—decide that I’ve got a strong enough foundation from which to leap. With the Architecture of Women series, the leap was a self-portrait in my bedroom. I liked the suggestion of intimacy, while the smudged mirror and unrecognizable face allowed for distance. For the project, I asked women I knew (no models,) and I sat beside them rather than stand in front of them with the camera.

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