Merlihan is in their 4th Year of Fine Arts. They have included the following statement with their piece:
Through photography, I construct self-portraits in which I transform myself into my own tailored version of Alice, from Alice in Wonderland. I use this character as a tool to offer a window into one’s experiences with mental health disorders and perception of self. I create imagery that people who have first-hand experience with mental health issues, and those who do not, can comprehend.
My process involves selecting the issue I am planning to portray and then developing a clear idea of the imagery that would convey the message. I visualize and make decisions on what the rough composition will look like before I begin my photoshoots. I control every part of the photoshoot including the hair, makeup, wardrobe, props, lighting, camera, setting, etc. While in front of the camera I play with different facial expressions and positioning of the body to achieve an image as close as possible to what I had envisioned. I take each image in Photoshop, making every necessary adjustment. The final step is adding a low opacity oil painting filter to give the image a slight illustrative and otherworldly appearance.