ANIMAL’s new feature Artist’s Notebook asks artists to show us their idea sketch next to a finished piece. This week, Andrea Mary Marshall explains the origin of her toxic mystical nun alter-ego.

New York-based artist Andrea Mary Marshall’s series Toxic Women is a series of self-portraits that subverts imagery of female sexuality, religion, consumer culture and the “lovely… repulsive… ideal woman.”

See how Rosermary Myst was born, before the stigmata lactation and bloody tears.

I have never kept a traditional sketchbook. I hardly ever draw out my ideas. Rather, my notebooks are filled with costume and prop lists, things to do and vague, stream of consciousness writings. I keep most of my notes and ideas inside the pages of my favorite books. This book, entitled The Habit, is where I kept notes on Rosemary Myst, one of the six altar egos created for my 2011 solo exhibition, Toxic Women. Rosemary Myst is a mystical nun devoted to God.

She represents the fanatical and obsessive part of my personality as well as my often contradictory faiths, beliefs and fascinations with mysticism, religion and idolatry. I love dressing up as my altar egos for my self-portrait photographs. I usually shoot alone and set-up my camera on a tripod and shoot with a 2-second self-timer. I put a mirror propped up on my easel behind the camera so I can watch what I am doing while I shoot

See Andrea Mary Marshall’s new solo project “Gia Condo” in January 2013 at the Allegra LaViola Gallery in New York City.

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