For 28-year-old, Silicon Valley-based artist Michele Bisaillon there’s never been a better time to be alive than in the age of Instagram. Sharing her life via the internet since she was a teenager spending lunch breaks trawling through Livejournal – thanks to social media, Bisaillon’s work has progressed into an intoxicating feed that defies everything you thought you knew about taking a good selfie.
What started a few years ago has evolved into a bulging oeuvre of work that casts everyday props ike 90s nostalgia inducing Gerberas, colourful balloons and the internet’s favourite pet, cats, to create mesmerising portraits with mirrors, of which she owns about “40 or 50” – but who’s counting? (she’s not). “I use them like telescopes. They're windows into other worlds for me”, she explains.
Finding inspiration in the “intense dichotomy” of Silicon Valley, where tech collides, fights and coincides with nature, the intentions behind her work stems, ultimately, from a place where all great ideas do; Prince, Michael Jackson, the David Bowie fronted film Labyrinth (1986) and 1939s technicolour masterpiece, The Wizard of Oz – all of which continually tell us that ‘nothing is quite what it seems’.
“The media is consistently producing digitally altered imagery and in response to that I want to create images that are organic and unedited”, she riffs. “My goal is to remind myself and others that there is always something missing from the picture; another side to the story. There will forever be simultaneous events occurring in the universe that none of us know about. I find that abundance of possibility endlessly inspiring.”
With some shots painstakingly arranged, others, she admits, are nothing short of spontaneous. “The content depends on my mood. There are times when I have a specific message or thought I'd like to share; other times I want to cheer myself up by making something cute or silly. Usually the pictures I take of my cat are made to make myself feel better or escape from seriousness.”
So while we’re all familiar with the story of Narcissus, a well-known myth about a man who fell so in love with his own reflection, he ultimately lost himself, and his will to live, to it – in an age where feeling yourself is absolutely fine, if not positively encouraged, it’s easy to see why Bisaillon’s work is a stand out addition in an endless stream of self-portraiture.