CONWAY, Ark. – Social media, selfies and the plethora of filter options to chose from.
Instagram has 24 different kinds of filters – that enhance, brighten or even completely alter your face.
“I think filters are just another medium to help express ourselves,” says Milkdadd, a local artist with a new exhibit called “Welcome Home.”
“Welcome Home” is a series of more than 30 paintings that portray how the digital age and use of filters on social media can build a person’s self-esteem.
“Whatever image you want to put out there about you – if you feel comfortable and you feel beautiful then why not let that be the “true” version of yourself,” she says. “In the end, it’s about building positivity among each other and letting people have confidence in themselves.”
Some experts fear these filters are distorting our version of reality.
However, Milkdadd doesn’t agree. She says people should look at these filters as another accessory that helps a person shape their confidence.
“I think our entire lives our filtered,” says Milkdadd. “From the moment we get up until we go to sleep you’re always thinking about how to present ourselves to other people.”
She hopes the new exhibit will challenge people to take a step back and see that even our every day decides, like the clothes we wear are essentially modern-day “filters”.
“Clothing choices, makeup choices, everything that you do is absolutely filtered and that’s totally okay,” she explains. “They’ve become so routine that we tend to forget we even do some of them.”
Milkdadd says growing up wasn’t easy. She grew up poor and moved herself to Little Rock a few years back. It is at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway that she found a community and home.
“I worked day and night and put myself through the art school at UCA,” she says.
Milkdadd left the university to pursue art full-time but credits the school for always showing her support.
“I knew when I went there and talking with the teachers there that art is what I love and I needed to just go after it,” says Milkdadd.
She says she is aware of the negative connotation associated with the use of filters but says people need to be able to express themselves without feeling bullied.
“It’s almost like curating an art show,” explains Milkdadd. “When you think about your life and you see these snapshots and think they are beautiful and want to share them with people you are creating the image you want to show.”
In the end, Milkdadd says she hopes that her art and this new show help empower all generations to feel more confident and end cyber-bullying.
“I think that we present what we feel is best and why can’t that be our true selves – what we think is best about ourselves,” she says.
Fore more information about the artist, click here.