Moments With Mairead



If Mirrors Could Talk

Striving for a Healthy Relationship with My Reflection Through Art

It was on the 24th of January when I stumbled upon an extraordinary idea. I was decluttering my studio and reorganizing all night when I came in contact with an old mirror my mom gave to me. In between moving it from point A to point B, it was placed on the ground. I paused for a moment and noticed how the plant was reflecting back at me and how my face seemed to peek out in the corner and disappeared whenever I moved. As I took in this newly shifted perspective, my thoughts began to flow aggressively. One thought moving to the next one and the next one and the next. This sudden stream of ideas seemed to be shooting out of the mirror. The next thing I knew I had a palette full of paint and I was bringing my brush to the reflective surface.

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This was the very first mirror that I was inspired by. It's messy - filled with paint splatters and smudges from the studio - but hey, that's life.

The more I thought about it, the more enthused I became. I've been working with this idea for a bit now, trying to develop it and understand it. I've been repurposing old mirrors from thrift stores and estate sales in order to give their life a new meaning. I want to give mirrors another opportunity—another life.

By painting a face on a reflective surface a whole new meaning arises; it becomes a piece of art. Wherever it lives it permanently provides an illusion - creating a dimension within any given space.

At one point in time, looking in a mirror was not a positive experience for me. Mirrors provide this instantaneous image of what the self sees. Therefore, they allow us to analyze and interpret and get to know every bump and bruise our bodies take. It's so easy to get lost in a mirror, to feel down on yourself after staring into it. On the contrary, it provides an intimate opportunity to understand ourselves from a physical perspective. Getting to know our reflection allows ourselves to psychologically feel grounded—we are aware of our bodies, not just in an emotional sense.

Quite literally a mirror is reflective, causing the viewer to be reflective. The mirror, which then becomes the canvas, changes wherever it travels. It's interactive, it obtains a new image, adapts a new persona based on its surroundings. It's no longer just art. It's about you and it's about me, it's about all of us together and what we are reflecting.

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The same night - painting the first mirror, palette in hand.

The whole idea is that it's your perspective. We are surrounded by mirrors and reflective surfaces A LOT. Think about it—any and all types of windows (car windows, store windows, train windows), your toaster, the microwave (you know, if it's clean), mirrors in the gym, mirrors in the yoga studio, mirrors in your car or bus, the obvious mirrors that are in most public bathrooms and probably your own home, any shiny surface ever, spoons included. Mirrors are a hard subject to avoid. However, there are individuals that believe in the "mirror fast," where you strategically avoid mirrors to increase self esteem. I’ve come to understand, avoiding things only increases their meaning, so now I embrace mirrors.

These inanimate objects can be used as a magnifying glass for our tedious opinions, or, we can learn to be friends with them. We can appreciate how they allow us to see our Self from a new perspective, one that becomes familiar over time. It comes down to our minds and conditioning ourselves to accept our Self as beautiful beings. If we say anything enough, it becomes true, or as good as true.

Progression of painting the first mirror

The simplistic portrait on a reflective surface encompasses all that’s around it. As a viewer, are you gazing at the art, taking it all in? Or, perhaps you’re focused on the reflection of your portrait, or maybe the face of the person next to you, or all the commotion going on around you.  You see, we can so easily go through life focusing on the unfortunate things or distract ourselves from our potential by dwelling on the negative. OR, we can choose to see the beauty, the art, the romance, all of the things that make life worth feeling. It starts with you.

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A collection of mirrors - a work in progress.

What's the first thing you look at when you see your reflection? Instead of being overly critical, which invites disappointment and negative feelings into our lives, we should embrace our reflection and understand that in each of us there is some sort of "art" to uncover.

So, I will continue to collect all the mirrors. I plan to make friends with the mirrors; I plan to enhance their surface. Hopefully, this will help people realize we are all just a piece of art in the making. Because like art, our reflections are not perfect.


Mairead Zigulich