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. ;-)
I'd love to have you come view my installation in the Lower East Side, but in case you can't make it, here's a video of the entire project. Using the miracle of modern motion capture, you can now experience my project in the comfort of your own home. Enjoy!
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!
If you're in San Diego this Thursday February 8, please join me at MOPA in Balboa Park as I join with four other photographers as we talk about our work. I'll be sharing photos and telling stories about my Neighbors Project. Please come out. I'd love to see you there!
Here's the link to the event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/876262709165619/
Just over two years ago, I first installed my portraits on a fence in San Diego. Back then, I displayed the faces of people who lived and worked in the Neighborhood. Today, I returned to the original scene to install portraits from all across the country - from San Francisco to New Jersey and various points in between. To view the work, head to the corner of Imperial and Hensley in Logan Heights, 92102.
Every once in awhile I'm called upon to do client work. For years, I made my living off of assignments so I'm no stranger to the work – even though these days, I don't seek them out nor receive them with much regularity. Still, I have a few long time clients for whom I still enjoy working. Just as winter began to grip New York in an icy clench of death, my favorite client snatched me from the wintery maw and transported me to the land of sun and warmth: Kona, Hawaii.
While there, I took the opportunity to photograph more of my Neighbors portraits. Usually I'll nab one or two people at a time, but at the Pine Trees beach, I found myself presented with an entire platoon of subjects all at once. Instead of my usual subject against a seamless backdrop, I opted for an environmental shot. I won't use this in my Neighbors series, but I do enjoy it nonetheless.
When the Anchorage Museum invited me to do a meet and greet at the museum on the occasion of their First Friday event where the doors are open to the public, I of course had to say yes. I enjoyed seeing how people engaged with the work and hear their thoughts afterwards. What gratified me the most was hearing that viewers intuitively grasped my underlying theme of connection. Everyone I spoke with used the term "connected" in some way to describe their relationship with the individuals in the portraits. So rewarding to hear...
While I was there, I also took the opportunity to take my own photographs of the exhibit.
The exhibition took place in three parts. The first was on the exterior of the building where my work greeted visitors to the museum.
The main display was in the upstairs gallery space. The final prints were superbly installed by the museum preparatory crew. To be surrounded by these individuals who I'd documented was truly a rewarding experience.
Here's what the text panel in the gallery reads:
Artist John Raymond Mireles is traveling to all 50 US states in his quest to visually compose a bridge between the racial, ideological, geographic and socioeconomic differences that divide our country. Using his Neighbors portrait series as his artistic vehicle, Mireles seeks to create an inclusive, expansive visual document of America through its people.
In 2017, Mireles visited Anchorage to document residents throughout the city, in the process taking 4,360 photographs of 529 individuals. By working with a diverse range of individuals, he creates a portrait of our national identity and reminds us of what it means to be a good neighbor—to help each other feel welcome, safe and recognized.
Mireles connects with his subjects up close and enlarges the resulting images to a larger-than-life scale. In this way, viewers are encouraged to intimately relate to and identify with the character of their fellow neighbors.
Finally, in the "wait there's more" department, the images were installed on a fence in one of the neighborhoods were I'd photographed. In keeping with the theme of my original Neighbors exhibition, the images were installed in a low income area where members of the community could experience them outside of a traditional institutional environment.
I can't deny that I was sad to leave Anchorage. In my time there, I made some friends and fallen in love with the scenery. Before I arrived, the city seemed so foreign and distant. In leaving, it felt so familiar, a bit like home. The people are so friendly and the surrounding mountains never cease to speak to me. I can't say thank you enough to the people of Anchorage and the entire staff at the Anchorage Museum. What a great experience it's been.