Reacting artistically, to the influence of my children was difficult at first. While it was easy to react to the changes in my life as a father and everything that was happening in the house, it was impossible to work long-term on suites of cohesive ideas. It was like the world around me was changing weekly. I decided to make the focus the chaos around me rather than try to find the subject in the calm. While I may have used the children to make marks and had appropriated their toys in these first images, it is not until further down this page before there are true collaborations.
“Celebrating Will’s Birth”
“Celebrating Will’s Birth” “Here Comes the Son (ver 2)” “Celebrating Kate’s Birth”
“Kate’s Room vers. 1.0”
“Gondola Fuzzy Slippers” from “Kate’s Room vers. 1.0”
“Inflatable Painting” from “Kate’s Room vers. 1.0”
details “Kate’s Room vers. 1.0”
details from “Kate’s Room vers. 1.0”
“The Living Room”
“Top of the Stair”
“The Bathroom (downstairs)”
“The Dining Room”
Salem College Gallery
Entering “Kate’s Room vers. 4.0” with interactive controls on the right
The interactive controls operate the objects on the pedistal and a mini “loop lab” of dance music
Kate is wearing the red dress
About Kate’s Room vers. 4.0
This is the second installation I’ve created that focused on my daughter Kate. The first was a version of her bedroom made with elevation drawings, fabric, fanciful redesigns of children’s toys and an audio track of her first babblings. In this version, Kate is now 4-years-old with a strong personality and she can really talk.
The idea behind the creation was to collaborate with my daughter. This grew organically as we talked about the things she was interested in. A recurring narrative is her imaginary sister, Sara. Sara morphs in Kate’s stories. Sometimes she is 16-years-old, at other times 20 and she lives at the beach or in Utah or at other exotic locations. It seems Sara does the fun things that Kate wants to do.
This installation was made solely for this show and location. Salem College provided the opportunity for me to (re)consider gender issues. This was further enhanced by discussions in a six-week workshop I conducted with the Salem College art students while “Kate’s Room…” was forming.
From this square room and the windowpanes, I built a colorful paper grid that Kate and I had printed earlier. I chose images that seem to be marketed to girls: purses, perfume, mirrors, shoes, hearts, flowers, and butterflies. Upon the grid and prints, I chose a landscape that would best represent our location. Instead of our literal home, I chose the intersection of Fourth and Marshall to represent Winston-Salem. The intersection also worked well spatially with the intersecting hallways. Kate drew her own little landscapes and images. Then, upon the grid and landscape, I freely employed the often forbidden fine art supplies of glitter and stickers and the less than macho images of purple ponies and fairies. The final wall layers were letters and texts from the audio.
We now needed someone to occupy this fun space. The interactive sculpture in the middle became a loose portrait of Kate (or is it Sara) to dance and spin within an environment of music, butterflies and sparkles. Just watch out for traffic!
I continue to experiment on my own but see the main direction of my future work to be a collaboration with my son and daughter. This may only last so long.
“Flora and Fauna”
Emory and Henry College