Spotlight: Art for Your Existential Crisis

Artist Statement

The art in this series, “Art for Your Existential Crisis,” is an ongoing project that began in 2011, when I was in my late twenties and found myself deeply pondering and often immobilized by the most heavy-hitting questions we ask ourselves. Why are we here? Where did we come from? Where are we going?

In this series, I explore illustrations of many male, female, and androgynous figures floating nude or partially nude, as that’s how we arrive, in a liminal space. They are characterized by words of declarative belonging; expressions of sadness, mania, and joy; or by their often abstractly rendered bodies. They physically convey the ways I have felt limited by the confines of my human form. One’s limbs loop without joints, another has a clock for a face and a doorway in her chest, one is part animal, another has two heads. All exist in a space cleared of surroundings or otherworldly planes (as one might find in a meditative state) and are purely themselves, or further, an objective Self. Something made up of all its thoughts, emotions, and data gathered.

Each piece was created in a moment of inspiration and none were drafted or planned. Many of their characters revealed themselves and their message after they had been completed and always reflected the answer to a personal inner turmoil, my creations themselves the mentors and messengers of my crisis.

The triangles consistent in this series are inspiration gathered form several pagan and scientific sources. Three symbolizes the trinity of life: of substance, intellect, of the force which drives it. It is said to be the point where matter and consciousness connect with higher realms. Similarly, in friends’ accounts of psychedelic experiences, they also claim that in a state of altered consciousness the world is made up of infinite triangles, large ones filled with smaller ones filled with smaller ones. Whether any of these claims are true, I use the influences of sacred geometry, Thin Places, reincarnation, and spirituality to help convey and come to terms with my evolving existential questions through these illustrations and paintings.

Chelsea Bayouth Chelsea Bayouth is a writer and artist from Los Angeles with a BFA from CalArts. Her poetry, short stories, and illustrations have been published in The Rattling Wall, Broad!, Literary Orphans, Dryland Lit, and The Legendary, and she was selected as a summer 2016 interviewee for Poetry LA’s hyphenated poet series. She has worked on Robot Chicken, Super Mansion, MAD TV, Spy vs. Spy, Buddy Thunderstruck, and Rick & Morty as a fabricator and puppeteer. Her personal art has been shown around Los Angeles at iam8bit, Gallery1988 West, ArtShare LA, Creature Features, Pehr Space, and Carlos Queso, among others.