Erin Mabee is an artist and designer originally from the greater Boston area. Her work in the MAGD program focuses on hidden identities and queerness.
Erin is fascinated with the abnormal in design. Her work leans quirky and unexpected as being weird, or queer rather, is a part of her. At a young age Erin found her voice through theater and performance which is where her love for self-expression and the arts derives from. Her early design studies began in Costume Design and eventually led her to Graphic Design. She loves to experiment and find new ways of making in her design.
When she is not designing she is either performing Improv Comedy, watching horror movies or dark tv, eating cheese from trader joe’s, reading poetry and astrology, saying she is going to do yoga but having a cocktail instead, discussing Harry Potter with her partner for the 100th time, thinking about calling her mom but forgets [sorry mom, school is hard], or going to bed late.
An exploration of identity through design
Dychotomy is two bodies of work, Lessons of Anatomy: How To Not Be Lesbian and Ladylike, that both investigate the duality of a hidden identity. I am a queer woman grappling with being closetted for most of my life; these works reflect on how internalized homophobia has manifested for me.
Lessons of Anatomy: How to Not Be Lesbian, is a series of 10 posters dissecting my body and gender expectations. The anatomical design places the viewer in a high school biology classroom and makes the viewer an inspector. The sterile visual juxtaposed with the satirical voice plays with expectations when the viewer engages; not everything is as it seems.
This piece comes from my experience of desperately trying to hide my queerness and the meticulous learning on how to refine my outer appearance to do so. It is not meant to speak for all women or all queer people but shares the effects those two identities in conjunction with eachother have had on my sense of self.
Ladylike is a publication of performing gender through self portraiture. Ladylike takes the experience of boxing yourself into more easily digestible gender norms and destroys it by physically queering the portraits. The publication is printed twice and bound together: first as perfected, refined portraits and second as messy, unedited experiments. Both the perfected self and the messy self are living together; one side is hidden from the viewer later to be discovered, if you spend enough time with her.
[queer: verb. to spoil or ruin]