Chantal Lesley

Chantal Lesley

AUSTIN, TX

BIOGRAPHY


I'm a daughter of German and Peruvian immigrants who grew up in Brownsville, a Mexican American border town, on the southern tip of Texas. Feeling stretched between four cultures has led to a strong interest in issues of identity in my work. My work always stems from my own personal experiences, and I often turn the camera towards myself to combat frustrations I feel about my body image, being an unmarried woman, and even the color of my skin. In my work, I feel compelled to tell the story of what it means to be a modern millennial woman. 

Anything But Brown III, Archival inkjet print, 18 x 12 inches, 2020, $250

ARTIST STATEMENT


While growing up I struggled with my appearance, as I did not feel like I looked like my Barbie dolls, the women in magazines, and movies. As a child when I was left alone to play, I would sometimes try to replicate my Barbie’s skin tone by covering myself in baby powder, believing this would make me “pretty.” When I was nineteen years old, I briefly lived in a Florida apartment with five other women. It was my first time away from my hometown, which consisted of a large Hispanic population, and the first time I was surrounded by others who didn't look like me. While having a casual conversation with two of my roommates we stumbled across the subject of eye color and if we had the ability to change their color, what we would change it to? One of my roommates responded with, “anything but brown.”  I remember at that moment feeling shame and questioning the color brown. Everything about me was brown, my hair, my eyes, and my skin. I reached back into my subconscious and revisited my memories and desire to be a little girl with white skin.


INSTAGRAM

@thegeruvian

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