Open To Grace is a photo I entered into a toy camera show at the Foundry Art Center in St. Charles, MO. The photograph was taken on a Holga 120 format film camera while I was in Taos, NM a few years ago. For me this photograph has come to symbolize a small, silent prayer for all the people I know who have battled cancer. I think about them whenever I look at it. Each stone represents a person, place or idea.
Sex Religion & Politics is a triptych that I created for a gallery show of the same name for a group show at Art St. Louis.
No one seemed to take much notice of this image and I honestly don’t think anyone had any clue about it. It was at the time when major scandals rocked the Catholic Church nationally and locally, the war in Iraq had begun, questionable elections had just been decided and the super particle accelerator was going online. I might have called it Sex Religion Politics & Physics.
Although this image is set up as a triptych (back to the religious symbolism which no one got) there are really five images used in the composition. The arrangement of the panels appears to be out of order with the context of the title but that is not the case.
The gallery show was a bust and a disappointment except for the fact that it inspired one of my favorite images.
This is the title image from a solo show I did in Maplewood a couple of years ago. “Our Youth” was an attempt to evoke a shared set of memories and experiences by looking at the aging artifacts of the past.
These photographs are meant to be reminders of our collective dreams and visions for the future and are small flashbacks to a time when we hoped for flying cars and vacations on the moon.
I used a lot of different techniques and bold colors for the images in this series. There are a lot of images of neon signs, which are a favorite subject of mine. I like the fact that the signs are unique creations that were made for specific businesses and locations. There was no mass production or cookie cutter repetition. When these are gone (and a few of them are) they are really lost forever. The Skyview Drive-In is located in Belleview, IL and thankfully is still operating though the sign itself has been battered by the weather and has lost a lot of its neon tubing.
In this image the view is intentionally distorted, as it often is when we are looking back on the past. The lettering reminded me of a similar design on the wood and paper kites we used to buy for a dime when we were kids. The kites were made by a local company called Hy-Flyer.
When we were young we spent our days learning to read, write and play games. Jack and Jill went up the hill while we set up pins and knocked them down again. A bowling game with colorful plastic balls and pins was one of my first toys so bowling signs are a natural subject of interest. The bowling alley is an exotic and mysterious place and bowling signs often bring out the best designs from neon sign artists.
The sights, sounds and smells of a bowling alley make for powerful memories, especially when you reach your teenage years. In our little town you had to pass (or pass through) the bowling alley on your way to just about anywhere else you were going. It was a good spot to stop for a drink of cold water on your way to the swimming pool or the bicycle shop. As a kid I knew all the best places to snag a drink from a refrigerated water cooler. The summers were hot and we were expected to get out of the house (which was also hot) and stay out of trouble all day.
Cars are another strong symbol of our past or at least they were before all cars started looking more or less the same. Everyone has a favorite car and car story and can easily talk about it and the events intertwined with the time they owned it. The family sedan, your first hand me down beater or your pride and joy. Even if you had never owned a car, you still are likely to have dreamed of driving along the California coast or through the snow covered mountains. A car represents the freedom to go anywhere you choose. After enough years have passed you completely forget about the lack of air conditioning, endless costly repairs, insurance premiums and property taxes. Through the cloudy looking glass of memory it’s all good.
Once you get in the car you need a place or at least a direction to go. Many of us remember family vacations spent in the backseat of a car heading west and stopping at hotels along the way.