INTRODUCTION

Miss Art World blends the feminine and feminist into one, a feat which was once said to her to be impossible because a “pageant queen cannot be a feminist.” Self-crowned, Miss Art World retains her title until death. Age, unladylike behavior, bodily changes, pregnancy, marital status, and health have no consequences on this title. Miss Art World is a lifelong performance piece which is voiced through a variety of artistic mediums. Miss Art World critiques the unrealistic display of the “perfected” physical form and the pressures to attain it. She is both an insider and outsider of mainstream “beauty” and feels the pull between both worlds yet uses her title Miss Art World to question dominating ideologies of beauty fused with the disturbing and obsessive struggle to obtain it.

STATEMENT

Success in pageantry proved to be both my salvation as well as a burden. The limitations caused by my vision problems as well as the rejection and prejudices I experienced led me to seek out other means of fulfillment; this came in the form of beauty pageants and modeling. Using my experiences, I critique the unrealistic display of the “perfected” physical form and the pressures to attain it. I am both an insider and outsider of mainstream “beauty” and to bring both perspectives together, I became Miss Art World. I use this title throughout my work to question the dominating ideologies of beauty fused with the disturbing and obsessive struggle to obtain it.

BIOGRAPHY

Miss Art World (aka Katherine J Cooksey) was born and raised in California, She completed her Bachelors of Fine Arts from California State University, Bakersfield and received her Masters of Fine Art from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. Katherine was diagnosed with incurable eye disease at the age of ten and has struggled with her vision ever since. As Katherine’s vision started to deteriorate, her father began to teach her how to paint. Unfortunately, her 8th-grade art teacher told her, “You can’t be an artist if you can’t see” which led Katherine to give up art for years. The rejection and prejudices that arose from the academic environment led Katherine to seek out other means of fulfillment. This came in the form of beauty pageants and modeling. Over the years, she participated in pageants and modeling, winning several titles including Miss Teen Hawaiian Tropic, Miss Bakersfield, first runner up for Miss California International, Miss California Global Nation Pageant. Success in pageantry proved to be both her salvation as well as a burden. Using her experiences to form her art practice, Katherine critiques the unrealistic display of the “perfected” physical form and the pressures to attain it. She is both an insider and outsider of mainstream “beauty” and feels the pull between both worlds. To bring both perspectives together she crowned herself Miss Art World and uses the title to question the dominating ideologies of beauty fused with the disturbing and obsessive struggle to obtain it.