documentary

Miss Meatface by Kat Toronto

May 08

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@missmeatface

Describe your work in three words

Nostalgic Feminine Provocations

When did you create Miss Meatface?

I can trace the origins of Miss Meatface back to mid-2014. I had undergone a full hysterectomy for cervical cancer the year before and the 12-year relationship I’d had with my partner at the time was coming to a sad and emotionally scarring end. I had just picked up a camera again after a long hiatus and began shooting self-portraits. In essence, I was using photography as therapy.

I wanted to visually express what I felt like on the inside, so I began experimenting with special effects makeup and giving myself black eyes and bloody scars that ran the length of my face. At the time I started calling this developing persona “Miss Meatface”, and after a while, the name just stuck. Since her start three years ago Miss Meatface has evolved with me and the changes that I’ve undergone: a divorce; quitting my full-time job of 10 years to pursue my artistic endeavours; falling in love and moving to London from the San Francisco Bay Area.

What’s the concept behind Miss Meatface?

Miss Meatface originally began as an emotional outlet for me but over the course of six months she took on a larger than life personality, and I soon noticed that people began to respond to the images in a big way. Using a vintage Polaroid camera and Miss Meatface as my artistic and spiritual medium, I set out to explore concepts of female beauty and sexuality. I felt incredibly confused since undergoing the hysterectomy: where did this leave me as a woman in the world? Was I still considered a woman even though I no longer possessed the vital biological organs that classified me as one? I also viewed Miss Meatface as a catalyst to explore my sexuality after being in a long-term relationship in which I had done my best to suppress certain key elements of my sexuality.

Whose work are you inspired by?

I’ve long been inspired by Cindy Sherman for her theatrical self-portraiture and exploration into the realms of the grotesque. I adore Diane Arbus, Ralph Eugene Meatyard and Pierre Molinier. Old family snapshots are a huge inspiration for my Meatface work, as well as vintage fetish magazines like AtomAge, Bizarre and Exotique.

What’s your biggest struggle after creating Miss Meatface?

Hmmm…I can’t pinpoint any one huge struggle I’ve experienced since the creation of Miss Meatface; I’m one of those people that are determined to make things work regardless of the situation – in most cases anyway! As with many full-time artists, money can be an issue, especially with the cost of film for the Polaroid cameras, so that is perhaps a continuous issue but I wouldn’t necessarily call it a struggle.

Are there any other things you’d like to tell us?

I am incredibly excited to currently be working on a Miss Meatface photo, and etiquette book to be published by a Seattle-based alternative to home decor company Sin in Linen. It is going to be an homage of sorts to the old etiquette and entertaining books of the 1950’s and 60’s and will feature Meatface photographs that I’ve shot over the past year paired with tongue-in-cheek quotes I’ve written on etiquette, entertaining, beauty and general “homemaking” tips and tricks from the perspective of Miss Meatface. The book is set to be released in early summer 2017 with two book launches and small exhibitions taking place: one in California and one in London.

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