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"In My Room" - Artist Statement (2017)

Updated: Aug 21, 2019

This series has experienced a slow evolution from the initial idea to explore shared aspects of the human condition within the framework of traditional portraiture. As I created the first round of work for this series, I chose models that brought variety in ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, gender, faith, and cultural experience. I wanted to invite my audience to a visual discussion of our shared humanity…to begin to explore important similarities in people who might have once been their “other.” In her poem, “Human Family,” Maya Angelou beautifully states that “We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.”

The idea soon followed to expand upon each portrait further with the introduction of loosely symbolic mixed media elements. The addition of color is carefully balanced with the choice of textured print paper to create visual interest and to create a parallel in which the theme might breathe. The playful use of spatial elements is an important symbolic nod to the layers each of us possess. Our layers add up to become our presence and the crucial and wildly important space we each occupy in this world. Therein lies our most common thread.

The idea of the common thread brought me to my third and final iteration of this series concept. I chose to title each piece with vulnerability and explore themes as my own visual autobiography. This chronicles my effort to leave the comfortable struggle of solitude and find a place of recovery through mindfulness and meaningful connection. The use of pronouns in the titles is consistently female as they directly tell portions of my story. The use of another’s portrait to tell my story is an important part of this theme of deep and meaningful connection within the “Human Family.”

Portraits are most fascinating to the viewer when there are layers to be identified and explored in the theme of the work. Upon first glance, “In My Room” can be appreciated for the portrait style, the technical rendering, and colorful delivery. The level of engagement is up to the individual viewer. The invitation is most obviously extended from the atypical and descriptive titles suggesting a story of sorts is woven throughout the series. If my audience engages, connects with a theme or a portrait with its many layers, and somehow feels understood or less alone, then I will consider this body of work a success.

“There’s a world where I can go and tell my secrets to

In my room, in my room

In this world I lock out all my worries and my fears

In my room, in my room” - Brian Wilson

“Human Family” by Maya Angelou

I note the obvious differences in the human family. Some of us are serious, some thrive on comedy.

Some declare their lives are lived as true profundity, and others claim they really live the real reality.

The variety of our skin tones can confuse, bemuse, delight, brown and pink and beige and purple, tan and blue and white.

I've sailed upon the seven seas and stopped in every land, I've seen the wonders of the world not yet one common man.

I know ten thousand women called Jane and Mary Jane, but I've not seen any two who really were the same.

Mirror twins are different although their features jibe, and lovers think quite different thoughts while lying side by side.

We love and lose in China, we weep on England's moors, and laugh and moan in Guinea, and thrive on Spanish shores.

We seek success in Finland, are born and die in Maine. In minor ways we differ, in major we're the same.

I note the obvious differences between each sort and type, but we are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.

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