Thursday, August 14, 2014

Oral Fixation

The definition of Oral Fixation is hazy, in my personal opinion. Before I started looking for what it might mean, I sort of had a definition for it, or an idea of what it meant in my mind: it meant like there is some sort of focus around the oral cavity, an unintended gravitation towards it. Lately, I've been a bit more curious about why I center my attention around certain things, I think it might be because I'm in art school and I want to be able to talk about my work in a way that makes sense, I want to be able to articulate. Or maybe I just want to be able to verbalize things for myself. I've been wary of looking too much into things, because I feel like it's precisely that mystery that gives them soul. Maybe it was also an excuse to not look a bit harder.
Fucked if I know.

All on its own, though, I have been finding it easier to talk about my work, maybe it's from listening to so many other people talk about their work and being assigned readings about art.

So this oral fixation issue.
I think my favorite part of the face are the eyes, but when I draw faces, I find myself giving a lot of attention to the lips, as well. I like the lips looking like meat, which is what they are. Tissue that appears to be swollen and engorged with blood, fluffy, somehow rigid and soft at the same time, like a beach ball. Tissue that is not very resistant against sharp edges, but just tough enough to hold all the other tissue inside and so thin still that you can see through to all the red and muscle that is under it.
When I draw faces, I try as much as I can to leave the face for last, the eyes and the lips, but by the time that I've managed to work on most of the background, the eyes and lips are almost done, because I can't seem to help myself.
The line where the upper and lower lips meet, with upturned corners, it branches out into little cracks that are on the lips themselves, little wrinkles of expression, where the tissue folds. The lips slightly separated, they make a shy diversely shaped horizontal opening, right smack in the middle of them, suddenly, there is an orifice and a point of entry.
The lips so expressive and expressionless, depending on what you're looking at, and also completely puzzling. The parts of the lips, the two separate pillows in the bottom, separated by a generally decisive groove in the center. A discreet point in varying sizes at the top that then spreads out, like wings.

Through our lips, we ingest, we nurture our body, we taste our surroundings, communicate, we take in and we put out things from the world into our vessel and viceversa.

I'm almost sure I posted something relating to oral fixation earlier in the year or when I started school, but I can't seem to find the post. I haven't been diagnosed with Oral Fixation, nor do I entirely grasp what it is, even though I've looked it up more than once and read a little from different sources. The definition seems vague, at best.
This is the definition, according to "noun a desire to have or put something in one's mouth, as in infants; a condition requiring stimulation of the mouth."
Here is a link to the Wikipedia article: Oral Stage

Now, the definition might be murky, because it was Freud trying to make sense of things from zero. He also thought that all our problems were rooted in masturbation and lived in an incredibly sexist era, which probably doesn't help very much, but as an idea to play with, I guess it's alright. Somewhere to start.
The human psyche is so complex, that I don't think one explanation would fit every case, either way.

My personal conclusion that I might have an oral fixation is simply because a lot of my anxieties and frustrations are manifested through my mouth: There's emotional and anxious eating, I play a lot with my mouth, I used to bite the insides of my mouth a lot, before that I bit my lower lip a ton. Now that I got a labret, I bite on that a lot, I used to play with my lower lip with my hands, just fiddling with it and now that I have the labret, I do that still.
I've resorted to chewing gum, instead of biting the insides of my mouth and whenever I feel "hungry", although I know I'm not and apparently I can chew gum endlessly. I do prefer that, than tearing at my insides with my teeth.
I also love chewing on crunchy shit, the deafening noise and having to press with my jaw, grounding down with my molars is an awesome thing.

So, I think an exploration of sorts of the probable fixation is that I've been wanting to draw mouths only and this one was finished recently. It's titled "Oral Self Portrait", and it is my mouth, with a crevice that allows my teeth to be seen and a labret piercing with horseshoe jewelry. I drew with a 3B pencil over Strathmore illustration board, I used an artist trading card, so it's 2.5 x 3.5" and with her owner, by now, I hope.

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