Several years ago, while studying for my MFA, I realized that photographic images from my past possessed enormous power. Looking through old family albums were like mystical journeys into the unknown. All these souls staring back at me—some I knew, many I didn't. I did the arithmetic. Most were gone now, their once bright and hopeful eyes now just a memory. The old photo albums became a habit. The more I looked, the more I felt. How could tiny snapshots hold such power?
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When my friends at Red Door Gallery in Oakland asked me to participate in their July, 2009 show, Shedding, I immediately accepted. Transition and transcendence have always been themes in my photomontage series, Desolation's Comfort. Whenever I'm asked to participate in a themed show, I try to go with the first impressions my imagination brings to me. In the this case, I had in my mind's eye the image of a giant snakeskin having be shed and blowing in the wind. Movement and scale are elements that I've always wanted to play with and incorporate in my prints. I therefore set out to create large banners to be hung from the rafters of the gallery.
Dabbling in artistic discovery eventually drives me back to my more formal work. I can always feel it. At a certain point while drifting down the river I feel the need for structure. I crave a mooring, maybe even some solid land. Desolation's Comfort is a body of work that began with my MFA graduate show in 2007. On and off, I return to it, for it is the work that seems to express my most inner place. Today, I am back again.
Most of the work I do in photomontage is a mystery. I find photos of enigmatic and interesting characters, live with them, file them, bring them out again, digitize them and restore them. Then one day, one (or more) of the characters speak to me. Then I move them into a new world of my imagination. Years ago they'd probably have medicated me (or maybe worse). Today I'm just an eccentric artist.
I have boxes of old snapshots. These days I find myself rescuing every old snapshot that comes my way. Once prized—people always say that the first possession they’d save in a fire is their photos—so many photos eventually find their way to flea markets, antique shops, and sadly, landfill. We try in vain, with our camera, to forever capture these moments, only to find each and every image is also of this mortal world. And so it ages and fades just as we and our memories do.
I’m honored to be part of a new show with my dear colleagues, Rosa Valdez and Philip Ringler. The show, opening on January 29th at the Eddie Rhodes Gallery, Contra Costa College, is called *Reinventing Memory*. Each of us brings a different perspective to memory and past. If you are in the area please visit the show and give me your feedback.
My MFA Show, *Desolation's Comfort: Photographic Recollections* opened at the John F. Kennedy University Arts & Consciousness Gallery on October 1, 2007. It's been a year. Creating big shows is like giving blood. It takes awhile for the body (in this case, *soul*) to replenish itself. It was hard for me to look at the images from that show for quite some time. This week, I took the dust off the metaphorical storage box and started working on my *Desolation's Comfort* images yet again. It was finally time to revisit the work and add new images to the collection.