Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Vices • #Vices2014

*Controversial topic, reader discretion is advised

Good afternoon you lovely lot. Today's post is going to be incredibly different to anything you've read on here before. I'm going to take a stab and say the most unique blog post I've ever done on here. In all honesty, I was debating whether or not to talk about it on here. I am incredibly nervous about posting this and the reception it will receive. However, I like to believe it suits my blog perfectly, and is possibly one of - if not the - most important blog posts I've ever written. So let me get this show on the road and tell you why.

My blog is about fashion, beauty and lifestyle. I'm always talking about aesthetics, and as much as I find a lot of fun in reviewing products (the good and the bad), designing outfits, and talking about new pretty collections, I'd like to affirm that aesthetics are not - and should never be - a priority.

As some of you may know, unlike a lot of bloggers, I come from a little bit of a different background. Although I spend a lot of my adult life writing, my years in school and university were based primarily around art - so art is a highly important factor in my life.

What some of you may not know, is that on the side of my blog, I am an artist. I don't have a speciality. I use and create whatever my mood allows (however I can confidently say that usually these are pen/pencil drawings, paintings, and photographs).

I'd like to take this opportunity today to talk about a series that I have recently began working on - a series very close to my heart - a series called "Vices". I will let my introduction do the talking:



© Copyright 2014 Keely Sheridan

  • Immoral or wicked behaviour. "an open sewer of vice and crime"
  • An immoral or wicked personal characteristic.
Plural Noun: vices
"Hypocrisy is a particularly sinister vice"

It is with great pride that I introduce my forthcoming portrait series; “Vices”.
This series will be compiled of nine close-up portraits of people with distinctive facial abnormalities, including skin conditions such as; Vitiligo, Nevus, Lupus, Eczema and acne scarring, and other deformities such as cleft palate, battle-inflicted scarring, tumours and facial reconstruction). Viewer discretion is advised.

Understandably, this is my most controversial work to date, and I must attest that my purpose for this series is not to mock or satirise - rather to explore the reception of the unusual - how onlookers become acutely aware of their treatment towards those with differences, and to respectfully expose the stunning beauty of these deviances, pressing that scars and disfigurements - although for some may be considered unnerving - are no greater than aesthetics.

After careful deliberation, I have chosen American actor Joaquin Phoenix as the front-man for my series. This decision has been made primarily by virtue of his facial birth defect - a prominent Microform Cleft Palate running from his nose to his lips, which has remained untouched by surgeons. As Joaquin Phoenix is a globally recognised public figure, it is with great faith that his image will aid to deliver to an all-inclusive audience the message I yearn to impart with; “Your dissemblance can be your vice.”

At present the sale of this series in undetermined. Once completed, there may be a potential opportunity to purchase the works separately, or alternatively, as a collection. Further information on the sale of “Vices” will follow after consideration to its subsequent reception.

I culminate my introduction to “Vices” with a collection of citations which inspire this impending series:

"Nature, who has the perfect maintenance of laws of her general equilibrium, has sometimes need of virtues, inspires now this impulse, now that one, in accordance with what she requires." - Marquis de Sade

"The lessons of life amount not to wisdom, but to scar tissue and callus." - Wallace Stegner, ‘The Spectator Bird’

"Some people see scars and it is wounding they remember. To me they are proof of the fact that there is healing." - Linda Hogan

"There have been times in my life that I’ve had a tonne of vices, and my demons have run amok for years and years and years." - Ron White

"Scars show us where we have been, they do not dictate where we are going." - David Rossi

"A portion of mankind take pride in their vices and pursue their purpose; many waver between doing what is right and complying with what is wrong." - Horace

"Our virtues are most frequently but vices disguised." - Juvenal

"It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues." - Abraham Lincoln

Please regard my Copyright to “Vices”, and if you wish to contact me in regards to my forthcoming series and future commission-based work, please do not hesitate to do contact me at:


Hopefully you may have already caught on to why I'm posting this to my fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog. If not, don't worry, I'll break it down. I've posted it here because I would really like everybody reading this to know that it's not just those with flawless skin, beautiful eyes, a stunning smile and a great fashion sense who are beautiful. Heck, it's not even close.

We like to surround ourselves with beauty, we like to feel content knowing what that the world around us is beautiful - it's a basic instinct, if something looks good, it probably behaves/tastes/smells good, too. Thus, we want it to be a part of our lives.

But what if something doesn't look how we think it ought to? What happens when something so unusual that we suddenly become self-aware of how we're behaving around it? Do we still accept this, regardless? Or do we look for something better-looking?

I'd like to take this opportunity to say that it's not always the prettiest fruit that tastes the sweetest.

It's interesting isn't it? The psychology behind aesthetics. Perhaps you have a friend, a family member, a work colleague with a distinguishable difference in their appearance. How obvious was it to you when first meeting them? I can guarantee you thought about it, didn't you? And that's totally okay! But I can also guarantee it's something you look so far past now, that you don't even realise it's still there. It's paled away, because now you know them, and now they're a part of your life. Do you treat these people in your life any differently to anybody else? Of course not!

We handle differences (our own or others') - in of course - very different ways. Some shy away, close doors, don't want to talk about them. Others want to ask every question they can think of in order to gain a better understanding. Some quietly wonder and analyse their own behaviour as so to not upset anybody. Some get abusive because they're not used to the significant change in what they're accustomed to. There are some who don't see a difference.

As completely human as all of these reactions are, I'd like to point out that it really isn't very difficult to become the latter. Difference isn't something to be feared or nervous about, it's not even something that need be questioned - rather just accepted that this is how a person looks. I'd like to live in a world where we are working towards turning "Question followed by acceptance" into "Acceptance without question".

I'm not just talking about the more intense differences such as disfigurements and skin conditions, I'm talking about even small ones - somebody's choice in earrings, if a man chooses to wear a dress or lipstick, somebody's bright nail polish, somebody's haircut... These raise the obvious questions such as; why? But you're a man? But you're a woman? Can you explain that to me, I'm curious? Here is a universal answer to these questions: Because that is their decision today. They have no obligation to be the same person they were yesterday. They have no obligation to apply to a code of conduct.

When you make the decision to "not get involved" with people just because they look different, the only person who misses out, is you. How do you know that person isn't the most wonderful human you've ever met? How do you know that person isn't your best friend? How do you know that person isn't intelligent, funny, witty, creative? You will never know who you're missing out on, and you'll never know who's day you made, just by being the only person to stop and say hello.

This leads on to why I have called my series "Vices". My little sister sent me a message asking me if I was sure if I'd chosen the right name. At first, no, I wasn't sure. Which is why "Vices" is only provisional, for now at least. The word "Vice" suggests immoral, wicked behaviour or characteristics - and rightfully so, my little sister pointed this out to me - and I'm very glad she did. (Brace yourself, the Art Student is coming) This definition is not meant for the subjects of my portraits my any means at all, but more for those who perceive. Those who segregate, those who are malicious, ignorant, rude, "immoral and wicked" towards the subjects. My purpose with this title is reversal. The subjects of the portraits are not "immoral and wicked", but are you?

I'd like to drive this message home. Our differences are what make us ourselves. What good would we be if we were all identical? Next time you see somebody with a difference - really big or really small - it's okay to recognise it. But let's work on looking past them. Let's begin embracing difference. There's no hierarchy here, and we'd do best to remember that.

I would love to hear about your experiences regarding these issues, so please feel free to leave a comment below. If you are (or a friend or family are) affected by today's content, then please do not hesitate to contact me at: for any guidance through these issues. Thank you. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi. i have spoke to you once before about a post on a completely different subject. i became curious, and looked into your posts and i have to say i was very impressed. You featured one of my favorite actors in the post, and i feel that this subject isnt really addressed enough in our society. Beauty comes in many different forms and in the present day,most of these abnormalities are seen as just birth defects. but as most women can see, this man is very good looking. and if he were to have this "abnormality" surgically fixed, it would only take away from his look, not help. Very good keely. Kudos