Monday, September 3, 2012

The concept

Every good body of work requires cohesion - a common thread, theme, visual element, etc that ties the pieces together which makes them read as a collective creation.  My thoughts have over the past year lain heavily with the concept of space.  No, not outer-space, as that frankly just scares the bejesus out of me.  As a being on this planet, I occupy space.  All the time.  This, thank you Science, is something we can't escape from.  Now, this space we occupy, it can feel comfortable, inhabitable, scary, unwelcoming, tight, daunting and about a million other adjectives.  Space affects us, and in turn, we affect it.  In taking a "placemaking" workshop for public art opportunities in St. Paul, the idea of spacial ownership was discussed at length.  No direct answer that would hold in the court of law was discovered, but the idea never left my mind.  Who owns space?  And if you do (legally), why? And how to stake claim to a spot that you haven't purchased?

Simultaneously, I've been desiring to incorporate my community into my artwork.  My last major project (Basic Needs/Creature Comforts) featured myself as model, out of no desire to look at myself that much (because, believe me, it isn't easy or awesome), but out of necessity for the project.  The series before that, I used and abused one dear friend for multiple portraits combining her face with others' bodies and personalities.  Since I have so many talented, interesting and deep friends, I want to paint them - as themselves.

And herein lies the new body of work.  I ask any willing soul with whom I have a close relationship to figure out what place is theirs.  This can be the place they own or lease, a public space, or something more ambiguous.  Additionally, to the willing couples, I have asked that they find the place in which they collectively feel ownership of (it's harder than it sounds, believe me).  The idea of capturing the creature in their own natural habitat is very key, as I believe that people are the most genuine when comfortable.  And where else would someone be more comfortable and at ease than in a place they feel they own?  The hope for the result is 20 unique environmental portraits that communicate the spirit of the person or people depicted (and hopefully get me into graduate school!).

Here are the 3 that are completed so far:


Self Portrait

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