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The Self - A Visual Study of Parenthood

Visual artist Kay Nyx studies the impact of parenthood using oil paint on a textured wooden panel.

'The Self', 2022, by visual artist Kay Nyx
'The Self', 2022, by visual artist Kay Nyx

The many individual layers of skin on our bodies are so thin they can appear semi-transparent. It isn’t until you reach the top outer layer that you look more opaque and impenetrable. This surface layer guards us against harm while nourishing information and energy transmission with the world around us. Like a parent, our skin does its best to shield us from the offence.

This role of protector and cultivator is what being a parent is, and the cost of fulfilling this is the marks you see all over my skin. I am unashamed in my approach to studying my stomach, using intensive mark-making to describe my experiences of being a parent.

Every mark on the wooden panel was made with oil paint, combining soft blending with harsh sgraffito lines. In some areas, the colour is very thin or scratched away to reveal what lies beneath, while others are thick blocks of colour. These contrasts express the range of issues parents have to protect their children from, the degree of success and the scars left behind.

About the visual artist

Kay Nyx is an Autistic visual artist based in Derbyshire and a parent of two Neurodivergent children. Many of their works explore the artist's lived experiences. The main focus of Nyx’s work is on how Autism affects how they process the world around them.

The techniques used by Kay Nyx are all self-taught and come about through experimentation in their art studio. Nyx loves to play with ideas and materials. The medium and surfaces change depending on the best way to communicate a particular message. However, Nyx's works are predominantly digital. Currently, Nyx is experimenting with making their art supplies from eco-friendly, natural and sustainable sources.

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