I explore issues of race, class, and social standing through approaches to self-representation and the constructed image. Inspired by nineteenth- and twentieth-century portraiture and its precarious modes of depiction, my work deconstructs ideas of secure identity and fixed painting techniques through subtexts of the staged, self-aware portrait. A related body of work involves still life vanitas paintings created from discarded reference photographs and reproductions of self-portraits that were crumpled and tossed aside. I relate concepts of double consciousness to image-making and examine notions of “finish” associated with academic painting techniques. Often using indirect glazing approaches to strategically layer an image, I consider how content exists in in-between spaces and beneath the painted surface. How can slowing down consumable views of a portrait challenge understood relationships between image, surface, and material? At the same time, how can this process reveal insights into the psychological state of the painter/painted? By emphasizing conflicts between inner and outer, I hope to foster new realities and ways of being understood as not black or white, wealthy or poor, but human.