Con Artist All Stars Show

The Con Artist Collective in New York City is doing its first ever All Star show and I'm happy to announce that I've been invited to participate. The show is in the Lower East Side right off of Houston on Allen Street. I'll be showing a work from my yet-to-be-released series entitled Abandoned. Come check it out!

Opening reception will take place on August 9 at 7 PM with a VIP reception the day before on August 8. If you're interested in attending the VIP reception, let me know so I can get you on the guest list.

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Neighbors - Surprise, Arizon

I woke up at 5 AM to beat the 110 degree Arizona heat that was soon to face us. Outside the WHAM Arts Center, a group of ten volunteers stood eager to help me install the 111 portraits that I'd brought from California. While some were to hang inside the gallery, the majority were waiting their display on a nearby park's fence and another city owned property around the corner. With the temperatures rising by the moment, we quickly set off to work.

In the predawn light, we laid out the 30 foot long lengths of vinyl material that held six portraits. Fairly quickly the prints went up. It's a bit tricky to get the tension on the zip ties just right so I spent considerable time double checking the work and replacing ties where necessary. Still, it was a race to get the prints up before being overwhelmed by the heat. 

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I'd been commissioned by the arts center and the city to install the work in the Original Town Site (OTS) part of Surprise. Not long ago, the town consisted of dirt roads and a few blocks of Latino owned homes and businesses. Over the past 20 years, the town has exploded in size leaving the original townspeople feeling marginalized in the process.

Earlier in 2018, I'd visited the city and taken portraits of people in and around the OTS. In designing the layout for the exhibition, I paired a portrait of an individual from Surprise with a portrait taken in one of the 50 US states. Together, they'd appear in public with the goal of photographically integrating both individuals within the community and the community itself with others from around the nation. 

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In addition to the photos on the fence, I also experimented with placing a couple of photos on the exterior windows of the WHAM gallery.

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Inside I used a special vinyl material for the prints. The vinyl offers a high resolution image that is extremely durable and able to withstand abuse that would destroy a traditional print. Using the vinyl in this way brought the costs of the exhibition way down without sacrificing my artistic vision. After this the show will move to Huntington University in Peoria, Arizona. 

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Defaced or Merely Revised? Either Way, Neighbors NYC is No More

To deny that I was disappointed with the city that is New York on that warm June morning would be dishonest. I’d had just walked the length of Houston Street’s First Street Green Park where I’d installed a series of portraits from across all 50 states along the outside of its fence. Of the 86 large-scale portraits combining to extend 350 feet in length — longer than a football field — 52 had been heavily tagged by one or more vandals. On some, the tagging partially obscured the face or body, on most however, some form of semi-legible commentary about the subject was scrawled in large loping letters next to the subject’s head. Visually, the effect was devastating.

I’d begun working on this series in 2015 by photographing men and women from Logan Heights, a historically Hispanic and African-American community of San Diego where I lived. After having only recently moved in, I wished to document my neighbors and through them create a portrait of the neighborhood that we now shared.

Using a high-resolution medium format camera, I created uniformly lit portraits of shop owners, mechanics, military retirees, the local city councilman and other inhabitants of the neighborhood. I then exhibited the resulting four feet by five prints on the outside of the fence surrounding my home — which was conveniently situated near a well-traveled intersection in the midst of where my subjects live and work.

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Through these dramatically enlarged photos, local residents (and later those from all across the city) were able to witness the character of their fellow neighbors in ways with which they could intimately connect and identify. I purposefully did not remove the photos to some far off exhibition space where community members would have been unable to experience them. Instead, the photos lived in the community where they could uplift and honor the people exhibited and, by extension, the entire neighborhood. In that spirit, I decided to name the project Neighbors.

Word quickly got out and favorable press soon followed. The success of the project encouraged me to photograph individuals in other locations in other states. Eventually, in March of 2016, I made the commitment to travel to all 50 states (plus Washington D.C.) to create a body of portrait work able to represent a cross-section of America. Taking advantage of my RV that I’d purchased just for such photographic adventures, I systematically crisscrossed the vast continent in search of portrait-worthy subjects.

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Neighbors in the NY Times!

I've had my work published in so many magazines, website and newspapers over the years, but it's always been in an advertisement for a product or to accompany an article about something or someone else. To have my artwork featured in the NY Times, well... that's something special. They ran it online and in the printed paper too. I'm going to carry a copy of the paper around so I can flash it to people and let them know that I'm famous now. ;-)

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Neighbors NYC Opening May 12

I'm excited to announce the opening reception for Neighbors Project installation at the First Street Green Art Park in Manhattan. If you're in NYC on May 12, please come by the park located at the corner of Houston and 2nd Ave in the Lower East Side (across from the Whole Foods and 2nd Ave F Train station). There will be some live painting and a get together. An after part will take place at the Turn Gallery located on 1 St adjacent to the park.

The exhibition is located along Houston Street and consists of 86 portraits of Americans from all 50 states. Please come by if you're in the area!

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