This body of work began as an exploration of constructing identity using given metrics from the world. Previously, I had “friended” over 80 other individuals with the name Gabriel Mejia on Facebook. I painstakingly recreated their profile pics by mimicking their facial expressions and body language, acquiring the necessary attire, growing and shaving of hair, and gaining and losing weight. These re-creations were then exhibited in the form of silkscreen prints. This exercise was intended to complicate internal and external notions of identity through comparative and performative analysis while creating a space where difference is articulated. This space is further explored in the work gathered here.
I have been drawn to four of these Gabriel Mejias for a variety of reasons. Within the social networking site of Facebook, these individuals perform identities that make me curious and envious of their portrayed social and recreational activities, cultural engagement, family life, and romantic life. The paintings in “You’re My Fantasy” feature my performances of the characters based on these Gabriel Mejias, and incorporate elements of their own lives as portrayed on Facebook. However, their main function is to serve as avatars for different aspects of my personality, incorporating experiences from my own life, and exist within a specific non-linear fictitious narrative. Influenced by comic book lore, pulp novels, video games, and action movies, these characters live out my often juvenile, heroic and melodramatic fantasies and serve as a means to filtering and understanding real life events as they work cooperatively and antagonistically within my own mind.