The Oxygen Thief series recounts the life of an unreliable, alcoholic narrator who indulges in emotionally manipulating women. In his inactive pursuit to change, he falls in love and plans to capitalizes off of it, relying on self-pity and narcissism to do so, using self-awareness as an excuse.

Young Ones TDC Shortlist, 2023
Juried Senior Showcase SCAD, 2023

The design was based on "cannibalistic love." The physical act of consuming someone can be comparable to the emotional consumption that love has; its intensity being redirected from something of pure innocence into an overwhelming negativity.

There are intense psychological effects from both love and cannibalism, with majority of the hurt stemming from self-preservation. This compares to how the narrator hurts the women around them by means of false self-preservation— it’s reliant on self-sabotage and dangerous fixations of the mind towards others. It’s done subconsciously to isolate and protect themselves from external complications. In this comparison the narrator is a willing and self-aware cannibal.

The physical depiction of cannibalistic love is done by weaving paper together, showing the forced combination of people. It’s completed in the shape of an anatomical heart, getting tighter in weaving over the three books to show the further complications of intertwining lives with someone else. The heart shows a physical and direct representation of love, as well as eaten body parts.

The splatters of black paint progressively lessen as the book series continues but it is replaced with brown ones. The black splatters are used to symbolize the narrator and the brown ones are the women around him; as he lessens his presence in the world and his downfalls catch up to him, the women in his life are able to work together to lessen his impact.

Photography by Bri Shufford and Fai McCurdy

Process Book: