I often describe my art making process as a stream of consciousness. Similar to the way I live my life, one thing leads to another and then another and before I know it I’m on to something new that was never part of an original plan. If I knew where I was going I’d be lost.
Over the past few years the images of trees have re-emerged as integral elements in my work. So has music, a longtime passion of mine that has also lead to weekly jam sessions in my studio. Trees and music were thus a logical starting point as I began to prepare for this exhibition.
Things were cruising right along and about the time that we all began to shelter in place, I took a short detour to create three small portraits of my favorite college professors for a fundraiser. While working on these I felt a very satisfying spiritual connection spending time with each of them. I also thoroughly enjoyed the simplicity of the drawing process. Over the next few weeks as it became clear that sheltering was going to last a while, I simultaneously found myself missing the connection to my closest friends and family. This opened the door to the portrait series. But there needed to be a twist.
Comments about Covid-19 and sheltering have been abundant in letters to the editor in our local newspaper. In one, the writer commended Santa Feans for their adherence to mask wearing but also lamented missing the hidden smiles behind them. This brought me to the idea of creating masks that pictured these smiles. Portrait drawings were completed and then photographed to make photopolymer plates. For each impression printed onto paper a second impression was printed onto fabric. These fabric prints were then cut out and fashioned into masks that fit perfectly over the portrait.So let us continue to connect with one another, enjoy these portraits, and remember to wear your mask in public.
My dear friend and photographer David Hoptman, the subject of one of the portraits, was very helpful in providing some of the photographs.