“Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter. The sitter is merely the accident, the occasion. It is not he who is revealed by the painter; it is rather the painter who, on the coloured canvas, reveals himself.”

  — Oscar Wilde,
The Picture of Dorian Gray



how to come out (to yourself)

fall 2022





Brief

Create a guidebook of advice you wish you had had during a difficult time in your life.

Skills

Adobe InDesign
Physical Collage
Bookbinding

Process

Note: Some pages of this book have been left out for privacy reasons.

I knew I wanted my book to be a personal narrative told in the second person, giving advice through the story of my experience rather than specifically listing out suggestions. I wrote the content in the form of a poem. I wanted my book to feel extremely personal, so I made it the same size and style as the bullet journal that I use as a planner and diary. I used a combination of typed/printed material and handwritten, physically collaged content to make it feel more handmade and from the heart, rather than completely digital which can feel artificial or distant at times.
I then passed the book off to friends and strangers, inviting them to write whatever they wanted in it. This book is never a finished document—it's always being added to and annotated by more people. Every person who writes in it gives a little bit of advice to the next reader, whether they intend to or not. Even if that advice is just "I went through this too, and it sucked, but you're not alone."

Reflections

This was easily the most challenging project I've ever worked on emotionally and mentally. Coming out is a neverending, grueling process, and I spent seven weeks constantly thinking and working about it. But what I didn't expect was how hard it would be to give it up to other people and let them write all over it. I had been intending to do that from the beginning, but the knowledge didn't make it any easier to hand it over. It was a fascinating lesson on perfectionism: even though I designed it to feel imperfect, I still struggled with letting people "ruin" the "perfect" work I had done. Even though this project is over, I'm always learning new lessons from it.