Starting with a mixed-media portrait addressing the intrusive behavior of men, You'd Look Better With a Smile is an exploration of the artist's reaction to having been told "you'd look better with a smile".
Myesha printed the original portrait for this project at 36x48 inches as a confrontation with herself, an unavoidable larger-than-life fixture.
My charcoal application was an act of aggression. I do not care for unsolicited advice, and I do not think it’s normal for others to comment on me... I thought about a time I was running when someone shouted that I should smile, all the times I'm deep in thought and someone decided I'm in a bad mood because of the look on my face.
We all have a similar story, so capturing the unique experience and emotion of other womxn is key to the project. Over ninety people have completed their own portrait on large-scale prints with charcoal on paper, a medium chosen to embrace the messy, imperfect nature of real life.
The project is used as a vehicle facilitating the similar experiences that we have. To complete their portraits, participants are given a safe space to visually explore themselves in the unusually large format. The time and space during the workshop helps participants to embrace what others may see as imperfections, and provides each with a moment to address themselves in a surprisingly emotional way.