Part of the important work of normalizing and celebrating our bodies, includes curating a better appreciation for the magic and beauty that can be found in our menstrual cycles. Personally, I process a lot of my emotions and experiences through art, and so I wanted to highlight a few of my works I have made that focus on this theme of 'Menstruation Magic', and perhaps share some inspiration for more period artwork to come.
The following video shows me painting a commission a good friend of mine asked me to make. She wanted to push me to make a painting a little outside of my comfort zone, stepping into the darker and creeper parts of ourselves. She asked me to make something a little eerie. The first thing that came to my mind was to paint her with teeth and blood on the vulva. From there I started to incorporated mushrooms and poisonous plants into the painting. Mushrooms felt like the perfect choice. They aid in the process of decay that leads into renewal, a parallel to our menstrual cycles.
The first painting I made that explored the topic of menstruation is my 'Period Witch' oil painting (see image below). After having enjoyed painting for many years I finally got the opportunity to take a painting class in 2020 at ASU. I was tasked with painting a vanitas painting. Vanitas is "symbolic work of art showing the transience of life, the futility of pleasure, and the certainty of death" -(Wikipedia)
Painting a bloody pad, a full menstrual cup and half used birth control packet came very naturally to me. I added personal witchcraft touches as well, connecting the spooky themes of vanitas reflection on death and decay to power in our bodies ability to shed decaying flesh and start a new every month.
I definitely have plans to explore menstruation through art more, and think it is an important subject to hold space for. So much shame and stigma is attached to our bodies and their natural rhythms and cycles. Choosing to talk about these topics openly is a radical feminist act, and creating art around it helps me facilitate those conversations.