Celeste Hutchings,
On Becoming, Brooklyn NY, 2020,
Self-Portrait Series 1/6, 
24.1 x 33cm (9.5 x 13 in).

On Becoming

I've shaved my head a few times. 

I've done it mostly when I've been ready to change my mind about something fundamental in my belief system: When I've been ready to start again.

I took this self-portrait when I graduated from University. 

The pearls are a gift from my Mom. She gave them to me when I moved to New York and started my studies.

So, I adorned my head with them to signal that I accomplished what I had set out to do – all the while being very aware of my state of becoming.

 

 

 

Celeste Hutchings,
Moonchild, Toronto ON, 2021,
Self-Portrait Series 2/6, 
24.1 x 33cm (9.5 x 13 in).

Moonchild

When I've been most lost, I've found a lot of comfort in the Moon, in her symbolism and wisdom. Thinking about life and creativity as cyclical, like the Moon, has been deeply regenerative for me

I took this self-portrait when I finally moved back to Toronto after 5 years in New York.

I was in a waiting period. 

I was learning to feel safe. 

I was learning to slow down. 

I was learning about my rhythms and what it means to create in a way that sustains well-being.

At the time, I wore these Moonstone earrings often as a reminder to follow my intuition and to connect deeply with myself.

 

 

 

Celeste Hutchings,
28º Pisces, Toronto ON, 2022,
Self-Portrait Series 3/6, 
24.1 x 33cm (9.5 x 13 in).

 

28º of Pisces

On March 18th 2022, I became a UK citizenthat's when I like to celebrate my birthday. :) 

It had been 2 years of officially waiting and 24 years of not believing it would be possible.

It was a time for holding on to realistic optimism. For understanding that time waiting is not time lost, rather it is time grounded.

When I took this self-portrait, I was in the process of forming a solid sense of identity. A sense of self that had the right to grow and exist independently, simply for my own pleasure.

 

 

 

Celeste Hutchings,
Sober, London UK, 2023,
Self-Portrait Series 4/6, 
24.1 x 33cm (9.5 x 13 in).

 

Sober

I'd grown up in an environment where addiction and neglect were the norm. One where co-dependence was essential and quietly baring it with grace was acceptable.

Being sober for me has meant more than prioritising my mental health and well-being over substances, it has meant being honest about how I would engage in addictive dynamics in my relationships. 

When I took this self-portrait I finally decided to stop waiting for someone else to be a part of my life in order to live creatively. I decided to be creative for myself, everyday for the rest of my life.

Satisfaction has been my greatest salve for addiction.

 

 

 

Celeste Hutchings,
Calm, London UK, 2023,
Self-Portrait Series 5/6, 
24.1 x 33cm (9.5 x 13 in).

 

Calm

In 2023, I got my first professional commission from Cunard through Double Decker.

It was a moment of peace. One where I knew wholeheartedly that I was capable and thrilled to do what I love to do – paint.

Sometimes, as a creative person. Who am I kidding!?

A lot of the time, as a creative person, you have to believe that you will get to a point where you will be able to provide for yourself and live a liveable life from your talents.

That it is not too much to ask.

That it is right and it can be done.

Truthfully, I am still in the process of making this a consistent reality in my life. But this commission was a moment where I felt affirmed in my knowing that it is possible.

And I will continue to work in and out of the studio until my belief is my reality.

 

 

 

Celeste Hutchings,
Natasha Thirlwell, Manhattan NY, 2018,
Self-Portrait Series 6/6, 
24.1 x 33cm (9.5 x 13 in).

 

Natasha Thirlwell

Up until I was 22, I was known as Natasha Thirlwell.

When my Dad passed away a year prior, I chose to stay home alone in New York over my Winter break.

I bought him white roses. I let them dry over weeks of crying, making art, going for walks, and taking baths. 

When I returned to school for the following Spring semester, I hand-stitched the rose petals to a bustier and took this self-portrait.

This was the first time I let other people see how I was feeling. I didn't give context, I just let them see.

There was something about letting myself be seen, that got me curious about my entire self-concept and the disconnect that existed between who I let people experience and how I felt.

When the following Winter came around, I decided to become Celeste Hutchings and work on being how I feel everyday.