Helen Hitchens is a digital photographer, film maker, painter and sculptor. My art comes from a fairytale childhood place with magical storytelling. Anything is possible. Transformation, alchemy, animals and archetypal characters including plucky jokers experimenting with masculine authority.
My art comes from a fairy tale childhood place with magical storytelling. Anything is possible. Transformation, alchemy, animals and archetypal characters including a devil in a dog mask, a green man and an infinitely powerful Lilith crone whose terrifying wisdom at once nurtures and destroys.
For this set of digital photography images, in the tradition of Cindy Sherman I have created a reportage still of an imagined character or place. The viewer happens upon a world that is at once spontaneous yet artfully staged. The primal scream of loss, grief and the temporary nature of human existence draws from the heritage of theatre and pulp horror films. These tell an interweaving story of masculinity, grief and reference a haunted house and personal bereavement within a family. I explore the concept of family roles, particularly the power struggle between mother and daughter, and a shape shifting gender fluid young hero / prince / principal boy in the tradition of fairy tales. The need to protect the child, competing with the desire in both the mother and the child to break free and express personal autonomy, creates a bond I see as both loving and a restraint of mutual servitude. The femme fatale character from film noir tradition, described as a masculine woman or subverted powerful vampire or phallic female spirit is depicted as monstrous and destroying to force necessary change. A baffled exhausted masculine hero is able to banish the annihilating toxic female force, but at enormous personal cost and the balance of the natural order is restored. This project launched the ongoing work #MasculinityIsAMask