You Didn’t Look 16, Maybe 18 Depending on the Hair
Sarah C Blanchette is a photo-based fiber artist making work out of Detroit, Michigan. Calling on quilting, sewing, and sculpture as forms of documentation, Blanchette aims to bridge the gap between generations in order to bring awareness to the dangers of teenage girls coming of age on the internet. As a teenage girl at the age of thirteen, Blanchette began conversing with adult men in chatrooms on websites marketed to minors. The feedback from these men was instrumental in the conception of her self-esteem and internal self-image. The attention from these interactions proved intoxicating for the young girl, and played upon her desire for acceptance and praise from men. As Blanchette matured physically, entered college, and gained a significant amount of weight, the dropping away of digital support from the men online began. It was at this point that her internal image of herself began to separate from her real-world physical form. Through repetitive, physical workings with her current image, Blanchette is seeking to mend the dysmorphic rifts between her internal and external form. By taking these ‘digital phenomenons’ outside of the internet realm and giving them physical weight in the real world, Blanchette pulls on the power of confrontation in her artwork in order to prevent the ability of the viewer to ignore the artist and the abuse occurring behind their screens. On a broader front, Blanchette is on a mission to help others, and herself, mend the dysmorphic feelings that young women have within their current physical selves in response to growing up with online personas.