Strange Bird

This is a self portrait done right after my accident. My lower half has been replaced by faulty robotics, an indication of the broken machine of my body. The machine lacks feeling, lacks the precious organic characteristics of life, and is other from us.

A hole is bore through me so you can see my spine from the front which is strange and unnatural. I think I did this mostly because my spinal injury was the stem of the issue; the root of my identity in this picture. I was suddenly “disabled” and that part of my life eclipsed all others for a long time.

I have wings here, but they are small. Perhaps representing my ability to fly (freedom of movement) and it’s diminished nature. I have always had dreams of flying and I also relate with birds in their propensity for song. My cousin in Mexico called me “Strange Bird” because of my vivid plumage (colorful clothing).

My hands here are making a pushing away or blocking gesture which reveals my desire to deny reality. It might also be suggestive of a desire to avoid further pains and push people away.

Finally I will point out that my third eye is closed. Another attempt to deny and avoid. I was cut off not only from my body but from seeing anything beyond the here and now. I had blinders on and tight wraps on my emotions. I was afraid that if I let the wall down a cascade of emotions would surely drown me and in truth I have still done little grieving for what I’ve lost.

It’s interesting to interpret my art. Almost like interpreting dreams. When I draw I’m not usually consciously deciding what elements to put in an attempt to symbolize this or that. Art is cathartic. Art has taught me so much about myself.

Strange Bird by Camille Willis


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