Artist Statement
As an artist, I collect the stories of the everyday person. It is an effort to discover a sense of the real and normal, often distorted by an overload of images and narratives shown to us by the media and advertisers. The collections represent an array of people, cast from all of us. It is an anthropological study of ourselves, of real people whose dreams, struggles, oddities, differences, mundaneness and similarities reflect parts within all of us.
My current work highlights one neighborhood, to show a portrait of those who live and work there. In the visual narratives, you meet the former Mayor Art Agnos, a down-on-her-luck mom living in the projects, a pastor, a girl whose brother was murdered, an artist inspired by bees, a lesbian couple who just had a baby, and see an aerial shot of Potrero Hill where it all takes place. The tapestry of stories reveals common experiences we all share: falling in love, being with family, searching for our dreams, mourning a death, raising children, feeling our fears--much in the same way Canterbury Tales or Decameron does through telling the tales of many.
I use photography for its intrinsic storytelling nature and stories for their visual qualities, to create a multi-dimensional, narrative portrait of each person. This visual narrative intends to transport the viewer into that space which storytelling mysteriously creates, where all sense of time and place and self are suspended. It is in this moment that we can find empathy and understanding, as we often find a bit of ourselves. For each visual narrative, I photograph what the person chooses to show me (objects, hands, spaces) to make a portrait. We then talk until the person finds a story to share. With a tape recorder going, they tell several stories. I transcribe the stories and begin to edit. Each person sees the finished visual narrative to make sure they like it. The visual narrative can be shown as a visual piece only, or for more impact, it can have an audio loop of the person's story.
As the neighborhood gets a chance to see itself in the exhibited work, it may be a collision point for many, who although live very near to each other, might never cross paths in daily life. Perhaps, in this moment, these visual narratives provide a new perspective, a view into the world around us, opening our eyes to see just who is passing us everyday on the street.
The search for stories will continue, throughout San Francisco, the United States, and the world.
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