A start of new beginnings this post is. Since I can remember, I’ve been dying to do some sort of project that would have the essence of the subject in my art. I think I’ve found the solution.
I decided to interview a few people I know (I’ll be starting off with this scheme) and ask very personal questions. Some of which tackle sensitive topics that may or may not get them very emotional. Each interview is accompanied by a photoshoot which aims to reflect on what the interviewee and I talked about. My first subject: Ervin. We talk about his weight problem and how it affects his views towards what he believes as an artist.
Iza: How does it feel when people tell you you’re too thin?
Ervin: My confidence vanishes. By them saying that, I feel like all the things I do on a daily basis are wrong – my lifestyle, my thoughts, my feelings, everything. You know there’s that saying “you are what you eat?” When people tell me I’m too skinny, I end up overthinking. It’s like unconsciously, the physical value you have for yourself slowly disintegrates! And by the time you notice, it’s too late. I grew up with this thought inculcated in my head when you’re too thin you aren’t attractive
I: Does it make you feel broken?
E: Sometimes. there came a point in my life where one day I really noticed that my appearance was awful and that being thin was awful. I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror, not even with clothes on. I just couldn’t bare to look at myself, i was ashamed. Right that next day, everyone around me – or at least everyone personally close to me – voiced out their opinions about my weight – or the lack there of – during breakfast. All I could hear was “You’re so thin, Ervin! You should really eat more!” And out of nowhere I just cried. I silently cried whilst eating breakfast. I knew they were somehow just trying to care for me and I knew it was coming from an honest and genuine place. I don’t blame them for saying those things.
I: Have you ever gotten to a point where you were just like “fuck this, i don’t care what any of you say”?
E: Inspiration drove me to think that way. Seeing works of artists and other photographer wherein they highlight the human body
regardless of the form, specifically, androgynous models. I’d think to myself, “if they can make a thin body work, why can’t I?”
It’s been the root of inspiration for me when it comes to weight issues. I ave also seen fashion as an advantage for me
because I get to wear anything I want and it looks good on.
I: Would you say you’re in a comfortable state with yourself?
I: Why? what made you say that?
E: A friend of mine once told me a few months back, “Ervin, you should really try to gain some weight. Men don’t look good skinny. Only girls do.” I was hurt. Very hurt. I may be gay but it doesn’t change the fact that my appearance is of a male.
I: What were the specific emotions you felt towards what your friend said?
E: Maybe on a universal standard in regards to weight, I wouldn’t even mind. It is what it is I guess?
I: Hmm.. But don’t you think there shouldn’t be a standard?
E: In the concept of the majority, I would think it is correct: that there is a standard ‘look’ that is more fitting for women and not for men. But I am not one to say really. I must admit, I am not strong-willed. It’s is not all the time that i get to stick or follow the things I believe in. There are times when I feel I know better than what society makes us out to believe. At other times, I submit to what the majority tells me is supposed to be.
I: Could you say that maybe you haven’t found yourself yet? Your essence as an individual?
E: No. No, not at all. the fact that i continue to have lapses due to the idea of my weight problem, just means I haven’t found myself yet. I’m not comfortable with myself, so to speak. I may not care about what other people say today but that doesn’t mean i won’t get hurt tomorrow. I have not found myself at a point where i have permanently turned my back on the weight comments.
I: Let’s try to change things up a bit. As an artist, what are you trying to share with the world? How do you want to influence people? Are you trying to make a statement? Does your art have a specific purpose?
E: My mission is to show people that even if there may be a mistake in something, there is beauty in it. It’s own unique beauty. I don’t try to seek perfection in everything. I shoot what I wanna shoot, who I want to shoot. It doesn’t matter if they are model material or not there is beauty in all.
I: Do you have a purpose as an individual, as just Ervin?
E: I just want to make things right. I want to do good and show good. I’m not saying that I’m perfect because we all have our flaws but I do want to be able to show people that there really is good in everything. I try to practice that mindset everyday.
I: Ervin, what are you hopeful for?
E: I guess… I am hopeful for the truth. I am hopeful for my vision to be seen as others as not just art of a photo but something they can apply into their lives.
I: Would you say that it’s hard for you to stand out among other artists?
E: Maybe in this day and age it’s a little harder since the field of art I’m in is easily accessible these days. But I know who I am, I know my art. I know I can stand out from what everybody else is doing. I’m very forgetful though. I know it’s out of context but i wish it was something that was different about me. Maybe I would be a better artist if remembered more. But then again, it might just be a challenge The Lord gave me to beat.
I: What if your forgetfulness is your strength and you just don’t see it yet?
E: Possible. I’ve given that a lot of thought especially after I watched Finding Dory. I’d say to myself, “Hey, maybe being forgetful isn’t really a boundary. It’s my way of finding myself.” I see a lot of myself in her.
I: I can’t help but think that maybe your forgetfulness is a result of a lack of something in you. A lack of happiness perhaps? You mentioned earlier that you haven’t found yourself yet or your place in this world. Do you find yourself in a trance at times?
E: At times, yes. But I feel like I just really need to build myself up, you know? Maybe after then would I have a perfect memory. We don’t know. But I really feel like finding myself is the answer to it all.
I hope you all enjoyed that post. A little lengthy, I know, but doing this project feels right and I hope you appreciate its content and the artists featured. Stay tuned to this project as I’ll be interviewing a new artist every month.
To Ervin… There is nothing more satisfying as an artist than being able to share your thoughts with one another. Thank you for opening up your soul to me. I know it was very hard to do but thank you for trusting me still. You are an amazing artist. May your creative mind live on to create wonderful photos to be shared with the world and beyond. Your ideas astound me. I believe so much in you.