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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Artist Statement - Delaplaine Exhibit (sculpture)

This is the artist statement that accompanied my 3 person exhibit at The Delaplaine this past December. I'm still fleshing out the official artist statement for my sculpture work but I thought I'd put this up there in case anyone was curious.

Artist Statement

I began my artistic career in photography, and more recently made my mark on the art scene with black and white Holga images that were multiple-exposed in-camera and processed and printed in a traditional darkroom. I constantly strive to learn new art techniques, and made the switch to glass and steel sculpture in 2010 after taking a class at The Washington Glass School. After nearly two decades as a photographer, I had been looking for a way to expand upon my artistic endeavors in a way that blended my layered photographic style with a new direction and finally found a good match in these media.

Handwriting has always fascinated me, and so that was a fitting place to begin the content of my very first sculpture. A person’s penmanship reflects a great deal of personality that an email cannot equal, and I often miss receiving those highly personalized letters in the mail. In this age of digitization, doing anything by hand has become a lost art. Therefore, as a challenge to the modern trends in society, it seemed fitting to hand-work the physical sculpture by grinding the glass circles, welding the steel frames, and showcasing handwritten letters.

My current body of artwork utilizes imagery and handwriting which I sandblast into glass, as well as imagery created with a dry plaster kiln-cast technique. Most of the writing I used was solicited especially for this body of work, though some was taken from old handwritten census reports and personal letters. By showing only small portions of the letters, combined with the chosen imagery, the viewer is given clues about the meaning of each piece but is ultimately left to fill in the blanks to arrive at an exact message. 

Holga Artist Statement

Artist Statement

I use my Holga camera as a way of digging deeper beneath the surface of my environment.  By overlapping multiple images in a single frame of film, I am able to make connections that are not otherwise apparent, and was able to uncover a spirit in a city that I initially viewed as cold, corporate, and soulless.

Upon moving to the Washington DC metro area, I was challenged with making photos in an environment that was completely foreign to me.  Everything around me seemed so standardized and clinical, devoid of any personality or individuality.  I could not find my place, or my voice.

After using my high tech cameras with little success, I decided to go back to basics and use a Holga camera to approach the task of making images in my city.  The camera itself is incredibly simple – plastic, very few controls, and prone to irregularity.  This method of making images placed much more of the emphasis on my own mind, for I have to decide what I want to say and how I want to make certain objects relate to each other, and then figure out how to translate that vision to film with minimal technical options.  This process inevitably forced me to become more intertwined with my own environment, for I am taking the time to look for objects and shapes and textures that strike me, and might compliment each other well when overlapped in a frame.  During all this, I found myself becoming more in tune to and comfortable with my surroundings while making my images.  

The body of work I created depicting areas in and around Washington DC shows a city that I do not often see portrayed anywhere else.  When most people think of the District, they think of the memorials, government, or other textbook accounts of the area.  As with every place I have ever lived, the details are what make a place unique.  Therefore the details are where I choose to focus my attention when making my urban Holga photographic images.

I have since taken my Holga camera on many trips to a wide variety of locations across the United States and beyond to make photos in this style while visiting, and have found success with incorporating my travel images into my overall portfolio.  I have also incorporated more human portraits, forms, and elements into my work style since the origination of my DC series. This manner of making images is essential to me because it has allowed me to carve out a space for myself where before there was none.  It reflects the way I see and feel in the world, as well as in the place that I call home.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Arts In Embassies Holga

A while back I was contacted by the Arts In Embassies program because they wanted to display one of my Holga images in the US Embassy in Kosovo. I also just found out that I am officially on their web site as an Arts In Embassies artist! The web site is http://art.state.gov/artists.aspx and the direct link to my profile is HERE - if you go to the main site you will have to skip to page 5, where my profile is listed alphabetically. You can see the photo that they are displaying there, which is an image of the Dupont Circle Fountain that I photographed during one of our Sketchcrawls a couple of years ago.

If I get photos of the print hanging on the wall in the Embassy in Kosovo, I will share them here. The image is a scan of the original film, printed 12x12 inches, and framed at 20x20 inches, so a little bigger than my normal display format. 

So now I can officially call myself an internationally exhibited artist. :)

Another thing I can say: I am being exhibited with Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg.. Seriously. Check it out:

About Me

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I am a sculptor, photographer, and mixed media artist based in the Washington, DC metro area. I sculpt with steel and glass, and enjoy people and holga / alternative processes photography best, although I experiment with many different subjects and media where I find them.

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