Through her use of beads, sequins and embroidery, Stephanie Hirsch's canvases are literally 'illuminated' with phrases of enlightenment and hope. Continuing her personal investigations into individual development through text, Hirsch ups the ante by removing the "easy access" of familiar graphic elements inspired by iconic punk-rock album covers and adding a recognizable figurative element. The use of the figurative element humanizes her compositions and is based upon self-portraits driven by her fascination on the whole social media "selfie" craze. Wanting to delve deeper into how "selfies" create an image of how we want to be portrayed in the world rather than who we actually are, she shot her "selfies" while saying and feeling the emotional content in the compositions. Hirsch states, "I was also inspired by Cindy Sherman's work titled 'Aging Socialite.' Sherman perfectly executed the daunting look in the eyes that spoke of insecurity and fear of a life no longer lived. My fear of just existing while living promoted my 'selfie' study as well. I am also profoundly influenced by Barbara Kruger whose text based work questions autonomy and desire, which I yearn and struggle for within myself."
The journey of how Hirsch struggles with her external and internal self creates a unique entry point for the artwork. The viewer can identify and reflect upon their own personal experiences by simply reading the words and connecting with the visage. This simple, yet profound shift creates the intimate and introspective underpinning to the work allowing the viewer to oscillate between the beauty of the materials and the message implied. Using insights like "I'd Rather Die on My Feet than Live on My Knees," "I Was Not Built to Break," "We All Find Our Way," and "It's Never Too Late," Hirsch weaves a story of overcoming one's personal adversity and building an inner spirituality that hopefully filters out into the world.