When Orlando-based stencil artist SKIP and his wife Tasha Copley, a photographer, teamed up to create an art installation for a local show, they brought very different ideas to the table.
SKIP's original idea, according to the press release for their final project, was "a photograph of a woman covered in plastic surgery markings, standing in an unconfident stance, prepped and awaiting the knife." He planned to call the piece "FRANCHISE: The Ideal Woman." When he invited his wife to join in the project — and act as the model — she proposed that they add a second photograph of her "in a more confident pose, with lighting and shadows that would specifically accent curves and natural beauty in ways the original photo wouldn't." After the project's completion, Copley explained that this second photo reflects how she actually views herself — as "confident, strong, sexy, and all things wonderful about being a woman. The right photo is me marked with what we are told every day...are flaws or [things] we, as women, need to improve upon."
Finally, SKIP and Tasha together added a third dimension to their installation: audience participation. Each viewer of the two nude photos was also confronted with a mirror and a sign reading, "What do you see when you look in the mirror?" A nearby comment box was affixed with a directive: "Name something that you find beautiful about yourself. (Please write it on the paper and drop it in the box)."
Recently, we spoke with SKIP about the installation, the overwhelming number of responses it received (the comment box was filled and emptied multiple times over the course of the show), and the emotions the project has inspired. Click through to see 16 of the anonymous notes that audience members dropped into the box — some proud, some lighthearted, some heartbreaking — and to read our interview with SKIP. For more "Ideal Woman," explore the project's Facebook and Instagram accounts. And, in the comments below, we invite you to share: What answer would you submit to the question, "What do you find beautiful about yourself?"