Contemplative Girls and the Importance of Teen Vogue

Image Descriptions: Three scanned collages of purple-skinned girls. The first collage is a person against a backdrop of black and white writing with five yellow star shapes floating above. They wear a boat neck shirt made of an aerial view of people on the beach. Their eyes are cast downward and they have a short black hair. The second collage is a girl against a starry sky with a shooting star above and cut out pink and blue stars floating next to her. She wears a blue boat neck shirt. She smiles with eyes closed and has pink shoulder length hair. The third collage is a femme against a backdrop of daisies. She is wearing a pink and blue patchwork dress. Her eyes are cast downward and her black hair is in a tight bun.

This series of purple-skinned, collaged girls share a contemplative quality. They are all considering who they are and their place in the world. They aren’t necessarily burdened  by the weight of these thoughts, simply reflecting. Using different backdrops and facial expressions I show that each of them represents a unique spot on the journey toward self love, self care, and self determination.

These collages were all hand cut from various found magazines. Many of the soft pink and blue hues and the daisy background were from photo spreads in years old Teen Vogue magazines saved by one of my studio mates. I was subscribed to Teen Vogue during high school. I really liked the smaller size and shape of the publication and was excited about its content. I was interested in fashion design and drew inspiration from their spreads. I used write ups on different designers, film makers, and actors as well as the photos as research for my own art. I think I even did some collages from those pages back then (note to self to go find them in my mom’s garage).

In the past year or so Teen Vogue has become a beacon of hope in the journalism world. They publish forthright and radical articles about politics, art, media, and fashion. I think that they are doing important work to support teenagers, especially girls, young women, and femmes by publishing honest, feminist content that openly questions systems of oppression. They are also spotlighting musicians, actors, and other artists who are making political work in mainstream Hollywood settings. It is exciting to see and I am so glad for this generation of young people who get to receive their issue in the mail each month or use them as a news source online.

While I wish that their content was as radical during my teenage years, I think that even then Teen Vogue and a few other art and media publications helped me cultivate a sense of who I was and what I wanted to do and be in the world. Using pieces of Teen Vogue in these collages brought the theme of self determination full circle for me. In a world that is still designed to tell girls, women, and femmes that their expressions and experiences are frivolous or unimportant, I wanted to celebrate the process of finding one’s way and place in the world.


Read more about Teen Vogue becoming a truly AMAZING publication here.