Celebrate Cindy Sherman’s Birthday with 7 Quotes on Her Creative Process

The artist turns 62 years old today.

Cindy Sherman in 2006 in New York City.
Image: Courtesy of Evan Agostini/Getty Images

Cindy Sherman, mistress of disguise, was born on this day in 1954. The artist found fame in the 1970s and ’80s photographing herself as fictional film heroines. In the ’90s, at the height of the AIDS epidemic, she began working with mannequins, manipulating their torsos to create vivid sexual scenes. Her work has evolved through uncanny representations of bizarre and grotesque characters: from centerfolds, clowns, subjects of Renaissance paintings, and other cultural phenomena.

Despite her chameleon-like powers, Sherman’s work is immediately recognizable, and her portraits are increasingly relevant in an age of selfies. As a tribute to the artist on her 62nd birthday, we’ve compiled seven quotes from interviews she’s given over the years.

'Cindy Sherman - Works from the Olbricht Collection' at 'me Collectors Room' in Berlin, 2015.<br>Image: Courtesy of Christian Marquardt/Getty Images.

“Cindy Sherman – Works from the Olbricht Collection” (2015) at me Collectors Room, Berlin.
Image: Courtesy of Christian Marquardt/Getty Images.

“I went into photography because it seemed like a fast way to say what you want rather than laboriously making something look real.”

“I would just go in my bedroom when I was depressed and I’d turn into characters—and [my boyfriend at the time] said, ‘You should be documenting this. It’s really interesting what you’re doing.’ It hadn’t occurred to me that I was doing anything unusual.”
The Guardian

“I really don’t think that [the images] are about me. It’s maybe about me maybe not wanting to be me and wanting to be all these other characters. Or at least try them on.”
New York

'Cindy Sherman - Works from the Olbricht Collection' at 'me Collectors Room' in Berlin, 2015.<br>Image: Courtesy of Christian Marquardt/Getty Images.

A retrospective of Sherman’s work at the Jeu de Paume in Paris, 2006.
Image: Courtesy of PIERRE VERDY/AFP/Getty Images.

“I have this juvenile fascination with things that are repulsive… To think about why something repulses me makes me that much more interested in it. I feel that I have to explore it.”
—Journal of Contemporary Art

“I see humor in almost everything, in even the grotesque things, because I don’t want people to believe in them as if they were documentary that really does show true horror. I want them to be artificial, so you can laugh or giggle at them, as I do when I watch horror movies.”
—Walker Art Center magazine

“Part of the terror I wanted to imply in the sexuality of the images is very much from the fear of AIDS and the terror that it engenders in the sexuality of our culture.”
—Journal of Contemporary Art

“When I see what I want, my intuition takes over—both in the ‘acting’ and in the editing. Seeing that other person that’s up there, that’s what I want. It’s like magic.”

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