My work has been an exploration into trauma, into my own trauma following my rape, into that of other survivors, and into the minds and facades of perpetrators who are capable of such violations of the human spirit. This has brought me to examining the body and the ways trauma inhabits it—even when we cannot speak what has happened to us, the body holds that story and communicates it with symptoms like fatigue, tension, headaches. My aim is to bring invisible things to the surface, to make paint show what violation feels like, to have paint reveal a perpetrator for what they are, but to also embody what resilience and recovery are too.
Body Joy Project
The Body Joy Project is a feminist artist collective creating work that critiques and challenges the way our culture thinks about the
When I was eleven, I starved myself into a skeleton. I hated my body. I began recording my calorie intake, carving it down into the low hundreds. I exercised obsessively. I craved acceptance and thought the only way to get that was to be thin and beautiful. What I found instead was a void, an insatiable urge to be thinner and thinner. I was never enough.
I first recognized my problem with anorexia when I started doing self portraits. When I looked at the mirror and took the time to really examine myself, I saw a very thin girl who looked equally sad. This race to thinness wasn’t getting me anywhere. I didn’t feel accepted and I didn’t feel happy. Through my self portraits, I realized I had to develop my own sense of beauty, one that included me.
As an adult, I’ve continued the practice of the self portrait. My idea of beauty starts with my health. How do I feel in my body? I no longer try to force my body to be something it isn’t, instead, I listen.
In The Body Joy Project, I am continuing to address themes from previous projects: body shame, eating disorders, sexual assault, and recovery. But, this project has challenged to step outside of my comfort zone and create art as a group. It has given me a tremendous gift: to be able to see myself and my body through my friends eyes. It has driven home for me that community is vital for healing. I have seen this with my friends and with the models for The Body Joy Project. When we come together, we are stronger.
To Be Brave: Ending Body Shame
Many women have experiences of body shame and histories of eating disorders and sexual assault. These traumas are both common, yet extraordinarily painful and life-changing. They are all too often endured in silence and isolation. In my past work I have examined my own body as terrain to consider body shame: my own body shame, the body shame of women in my family, and the body shame of women in this culture. Art is my place to reconsider the beauty ideals I have been given and to create new ones. Through painting, I could safely address my own past with anorexia, bulimia, and rape. I found that when I told my story, other women began to share with me the things that had happened to them. For this project, I interviewed and painted women with histories of eating disorders, sexual assault, and body shame. They demonstrated to me what it means to be truly brave: to be open, to be vulnerable, to speak what has happened to you. They are women with different personalities and idiosyncrasies all their own, but with similar stories of violation and survival. In being vulnerable and breaking the silence around past or current traumas, I and these women have discovered a great strength in ourselves and a community of other women who share in our experience and are ready to hear our truth. I have seen the difference between victim and survivor, it is in the fierceness of saying "this has happened to me, I refused to be ashamed. It is not my shame to have."
This project is ongoing as this subject matter is close to my heart. If you would like to get involved, or become a model for the project, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
"To Be Brave: Ending Body Shame", Chloe Allred, video by Aaron Bourget
"To Be Brave: Ending Body Shame" A painting series by Chloe Allred, video graciously created by Aaron Bourget.
BFA: Loss, Recovery, Transcendence
I am interested in how the self is created. I look to confront and examine my own image and body, and and to move deeper; to examine family, places, and memories. Art has served as a means to puzzle through problems in life, often through the direct representation of myself. In this work, it has been essential to address my body directly. This has served as a meditation on beauty ideals and body shame, and a transcendence from that shame. I am addressing these ideas, as well as time, loss and recovery, and the complex emotional layering that is part of the human experience.
Fun time drawings. I love pattern, plus I need something fun and meditative to balance out all the heavy content I deal with in my other work.
My first love was children's books. When I first entered college, I wanted to be a children's book illustrator. I fell in love with making large scale paintings, but my love for children's books has remained. I wrote and illustrated my first book in 2012, Olive, which can be purchased here: http://www.amazon.com/Olive-Ms-Chloe-Allred/dp/1475231768. In Olive, I was able to address themes of body shame that exist in some of my painting series, but for a younger audience. Illustration is a great tool for addressing tough subjects.
This gallery is a collection of my various illustration projects, mainly in the realm of children's books.