“For me, the act of making is also an act of finding something”
At the beginning of February, I had began painting on old topo maps given to me by my dear friend, who had a found a whole stack of them at a garage sale. It was fun to experiment with color and use the texture and old notations on the maps as part of the images. Then, the school shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School happened and I was overcome by the need to make something that examined who we are/who I was as an American. Who are we as a society, that it is in the realm of our consciousness and also direct repeated experience that a youth can easily access an assault weapon and then think to kill his peers in a public school?
Initially I was driven to create an outline of the United Staes as a boundary - our boundary, our skin. I next began dissecting the pre-amble to the United States Constitution as a means of reflecting on the roots of our beginnings. What are the thoughts that guide us? What is our essence? By focusing on one word a day, this historical document began to slow down in my mind, each word taking on many layers and perspectives.
This project has opened up many questions in regards to who we are as a country. The question of who I am as an American feels as personally interwoven to all that I do, and also feels so often invisible within my operating system. The sheer notion that I have the freedom and right to create and pursue happiness is at the heart of being an artist. This seems such a bold and at times decadent proposition, and one that is challenging to examine in the face of a society in which students can be killed based on another freedom, the right to bear arms. This project is only at the beginning. I am not sure what is next, but I feel driven to explore who we are as a country in the hopes of coming to a better understanding of both our deepest shadows and greatest visions.