Friday, August 21, 2009

This is what my life is right now

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I've always loved this Magritte painting

Felix Gonzalez-Torres

When I came up with the idea for the billboards I started to think of works that had impacted me, potentially leading me to the creation of this project. I thought of Felix Gonzalez-Torres' "Untitled" billboard project in 1991. This was before I was an artist or even thinking about studying art. I was working as a manager at Bloomingdale's department store and every day on the walk to the DeKalb Ave train station in Brooklyn, I noticed this billboard. First I thought it was an ad for something—maybe it would change in a week. Some weeks later, I noticed it never changed; this was it. But, somehow, the slow unfolding of the work through repeated viewings over many weeks resonated with me and I began to understand and really "feel" the work. Eight years later when I began my art studies, his work was revealed to me through books, critical theory and museums--all necessary to my growth as an artist. But that initial exposure to Felix Gonzalez-Torres' work remains the most profound.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I took this photo a few years ago in Pittsburgh

It seems relevant somehow to my billboard project in Houston.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Billboard Project in Houston's Third Ward (2004)

With the help of a Houston Arts Alliance grant, I installed a billboard structure at the edge of Dupree Park, a park sponsored by Project Row Houses. I was thinking about the various roles a neighborhood billboard can play. Of course a billboard could and should advertise products and services desired by the community, but perhaps it could also just simply celebrate the people who share that community. For this public project, I casually photographed three frequent park goers. The photograph was taken at the site where the billboard structure was later installed.

Earlier projects that inspired Inbound: Houston

When I moved to Houston after graduate school, I immediately noticed the dizzying number of billboards and signs on the city's freeways. The billboards seemed to look and feel different than they did back home in New York City. Maybe the perpetual traffic and cluttered NY landscape forced you to feel the physical weight of those huge structures in a way I didn't have to experience in Houston. In Houston, I just whizzed by those signs, which seemed to be floating in the sky. For an exhibition in Victoria, Texas I decided to photograph isolated signs along the freeway with only the sky as backdrop. I wanted the signs to become characters, the varied sky in each photo hinting at a narrative. I back-mounted the photos onto 1/2 inch plexiglas to reinsert their three-dimensional properties.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Inbound: Houston Project Description

This public art project will engage the general public and everyday commuters on their drive to work. Photographs of whatever exists directly behind each billboard will take the place of an advertisement. In a way, the project will unknowingly invite the commuter to a game of chance. If the weather conditions do not match those captured on the billboard photos, the art will appear as an interesting statement: Ubiquitous advertising will be replaced with representations of sky, bushes, buildings—whatever it is that would be seen if the billboard wasn’t there. When conditions are such that the weather and light match the photos on the billboard, the experience will be more surreal—a blurring of the line between natural and unnatural, real and fake, art and commerce. How will the commuter react to this potentially uncanny experience? And will commuters who repeatedly travel the same freeways become re-sensitized to the advertisements that they see as a result of this experience? One interest I have is in reengaging commuters with their surroundings. The uniqueness of these images will reassert the presence of the billboard, asking the viewer to notice and pay attention once again to what’s being “advertised.”

Here's another example..

Some of my billboards will look like this...

Here you can see what billboard ads usually look like.

Inbound: Houston