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Digital Print 2/20. Framed.
This limited edition print is part of a series of photographs taken of installations where I combine lightly painted backgrounds with videos of similar settings washing over them. I think of them as portraits of neighborhoods or people. There are moments where the painting and video combine with serendipity to create a meaning that I could never have imagined. I try to capture this serendipity in the photographs. This image shows renowned French street artist, JR, on the left, when he “occupied” Hunts Point in the South Bronx in 2011. On the right is an old slide of the Corpus Christie Monastery, a few blocks from JR’s install. The slide is from the 1980’s, the Monastery is from the 1890s . Both are projected on a painted backdrop is a sky and city scape of my neighborhood in Mott Haven.
I have been an artist and community organizer in the South Bronx since 1990. I moved to the area in 2009 to be near my artistic and life choices of the previous 20 years. My first public art project, in 1989, was a mural commission sponsored by MTA’s fledgling public art initiative “Creative Stations”, where I was working with 15 teenagers from the Hunts Point neighborhood. We produced baseball murals that inhabited hallways of the D and 4 train stations at Yankee Stadium for 4 years. This work introduced me to teaching, inner city life, community activism and working collaboratively. As a result, I am currently Visual Arts Director at THE POINT, an arts and assets based community center in Hunts Point, in the South Bronx. In this role, I have produced a good number of public art actions in the neighborhood whose signature is a triangulation of Industry, Community and Environmental Justice. My own work as a painter and set designer in theater has been a muse to my work as a curator/producer. My practice is led by the principles of collaboration on a more abstract level, a collage, a layering of disparate elements that work together. In one of my paintings I have a wild animal crossing the canvas over Neo-classical architecture, and over newspaper collage that refers to current politics. More recently I have taken to combining video washed over painted surfaces. This process allows me to make a stage where the work itself provides the narrative, unburdened by the intentions of the artist.