We met for a common purpose: to volunteer at a local gallery.

Our first matter of business was to put together a community magazine (just days after meeting each other) in one week– we did. A month later, we worked cohesively to put together an eclectic group art show the likes many people had never seen in a matter of hours– we did. The opening night of “Goddamn Strangers: A Chance Meeting” was lively, vibrant, fun and displayed a diverse range of talent.

For this group art show I decided to feature a group of collages I have been creating over the last several months. I’m a big, big fan of using Craigslist to search for free stuff. I’m also a big fan of re-purposing old/throw-away items, so when I found an ad for someone giving away a collection of decade old maps, pamphlets and photos, I immediately contacted them. Lo and behold, this person also had a collection of family photographs, newspapers and books from the 1940’s through the 1980’s that they were also looking to dispose of. My attempt to get more information about the stories behind the photographs was somewhat futile. I think this person really just wanted to get rid of them, which in the end, gives me the chance to use the materials in an objective manner.

Each piece is an attempt to make a narrative out of a (seemingly random) collection of photographs. The one unifying aspect of my collages is the removal of the eyes of the individuals in the images. For the purpose of my pieces, I believe it’s important to remove the eyes because I like having a certain air of anonymity. The eyes reveal a great deal about a person’s character and/or state of mind and once they’e removed, well, the person in the photograph can be just about anyone.

I’m wholly fascinated by the fact that a person would give away a collection of family photographs to, essentially, a stranger. I spent hours sifting through the photographs and wondering what the back stories were to the people in the images. How do they know each other? Are they related? Where are they now? Looking through the photographs was also like taking a trip in a fashion time warp. I’m particularly drawn to the fashion of the 50’s and 70’s, despite the abundance of polyester.

It was a whirlwind of a two-day group art show that I am so happy to have been a part of. More photos of the event are available on my Facebook page and the collages are available to purchase in my store. For now, I’m back to the grind, creating some new mixed-media paintings/collages!


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