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In February of 2013, I lost both my mother and father two weeks apart from each other to smoking-related cancers. It was a devastating time in my life, but I channeled my grief into the conceptual ideas of my work. Cancer is a disease that is a perfectly structured killer; it is beautiful in its architecture but grotesque in its eventuality. I began to think about nostalgia, longing for a childhood I never had, and parents that I needed. My recent work is an exploration of the escapisms I used as a child to escape my everyday reality. I repurpose retro-pop culture VHS from my childhood to re-envision the movies and fiction that became my surrogate parents and allowed me to find order from my chaos, beauty from destruction, and hope for more joyous times.
At the intersection between generations, things are lost. Domestic items lose their potency in daily life, and rarely are objects created, manufactured, or bought with intentions to spend a quality amount of time with them, care for them, and pass them along to younger generations. The work I create is a reaction to this reality. Contemporary society is consumed with disposability, and people are no longer connected to the objects that aid in their sustenance. Making objects formed with touch, labor, and time, imbued with value and worth counterpoints this disposability—the objects I create patiently wait to be discovered and enjoyed, retained, and later passed on to others.
In 2014, my wife spent nine months in West Africa on the front lines of the Ebola response. She lead a surveillance team trying to identify “contacts,” who are persons who may have come into contact with an infected person. The man in this painting was among these “contacts.” He and several others from a small village in rural Sierra Leone had direct contact with a boy who became infected with Ebola and died. He knew the boy since his birth and wrapped the boy’s body before burial. This is the moment when he learned that his act of love and respect put him in danger of Ebola. This is the moment when he learned that he was now a “contact,” and for the next 21 days, a stranger would visit him each day to look for signs of the disease that had already killed thousands in his country. This is Contact Tracing and one of the most critical elements to stem the tide of an epidemic.
I build worlds from the most common and least known material: paper. The ritual of hand papermaking is ancient, scientific, and rhythmic. I merge this science with the unknown by air-drying my pieces: the paper shrinks, twists and cockles, forming three-dimensional shapes more subtle than I could design. My paper forms revert to their botanical origins; I make plants from plants. Oversized and immersive, diminutive and whimsical, my pieces dilate the natural world and bring it inside.
Night after night in New Orleans, I saw our youth give their blood to the streets. How could I sit silently on the sidelines as the foundations of life were shattered by gun shots? I was faced with a choice. In my art, will I contribute to a Culture of Life, or will I allow the Culture of Death to prevail? My drawings are an account of the Culture of Life, the greatest alternative to both violence and the Culture of Death. My mission is to actively contribute to New Orleans’ reduction in homicide through artistic expression by supporting and glorifying people who use nonviolence to confront violence, those who help build a life-affirming culture and who are noble role models for our community. I tell their story so that the larger New Orleans community can model their character and deeds and participate in building peace in New Orleans.
In terms of 2-D compositions as well as 3-D constructions, Bretta’s artworks reflect her efforts to resolve the problem of establishing structurally sound and accurate space within simulated atmospheres and venues. Her artworks also express the analytical processes used to resolve these problems while creating various concepts. She visually interprets and represents each element in a manner that will enhance visual sensations and enrich the overall visual experience. In terms of subject, her artworks reflect her Christian beliefs, concerns, and doctrines. She views her artworks as a “Visionary Christian Art Ministry.” It is her intention to visually communicate unique atmospheres through the depictions of Biblical themes, personas, vistas, historical moments and future projections. Her visual interpretations of the scriptures are generally representational in appearance. She believes that her artworks will share the Gospel and provide an oasis of visual refreshment fo...
“Sisters Under a Canopy of Oaks” was taken on a dirt road on St. Helena Island, SC during a family vacation. The photo was taken on an almost unbearably hot and muggy day in August. My daughters cooperated beautifully when I suddenly told them to hop out and walk down the road so I could take a photo of them in this amazingly beautiful setting. When our girls saw this photo, they begged to submit it to Artfields. They have loved attending Artfields for the past two years, and they like to dream about the art that they could create and submit.
Creating art is a wondrous journey from the conception of a juicy idea to the final aesthetics; it’s what propels our spirits as creative beings!
With a whimsical and colorful and nod to contemporary culture, our mixed media installation “”Consume”” turns discarded plastic into a swirling school of fabulous, funky fish. As you walk around the installation you become part of the art. We hope to encourage the use of non-traditional art materials and to also spark dialog about post-consumerism waste and the plight of our oceans and fish due to plastics. After all, as the old saying goes, “You are what you eat!”
Sun Boxes is an environment for one to enter and exit. It’s a system that improvises with Mother Nature. The sound of Sun Boxes is loud enough to engulf the listener but there is also enough space for ambient sounds of the environment to enter the mix such as; birds, traffic, wind, waves… It’s the perfect combination of technology and nature that create art, an environment.
Participants are encouraged to walk amongst the speakers, and surround themselves with the piece. Allowing the audience to move around the piece will create a unique experience for everyone. Sun Boxes is not just one composition, but, many. There are no batteries involved, so Sun Boxes is reliant on the sun. Clouds, participants and various amounts of sunlight all contribute to the consistent evolution of the piece.
This tapestyry was inspired by French neoclassical portraiture but with a twist…tattooing her face with a floral motif and adding crystal beadwork to the surface of the portrait.
Family Dollar General Tree grew out of project I started after our move to New Orleans in 2010. The original project, titled Wreck (http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobsnead/sets/72157625864777981/), was a recreation of a car accident I witnessed on my first days in the city and it became a metaphor for our move-feeling as if we’d crashed landed with no clear plan. While developing the installation with the cardboard boxes we used for the move, I became obsessed with the corporate branding that covered the exteriors. Because of a prevalence of Dollar Stores in my neighborhood, I began collecting and building from their cardboard refuse with the goal of creating a closed circuit infinite loop of Uroboros, where the trash of Dollar Stores goes back into the production of a Dollar Store. The project cynically comments on the illusion of infinite resources that box stores project, while also wholeheartedly embracing the forms that shape our domestic life with meticulously handcrafted pro...
This is a part of a series of images of actual slaves from a larger ongoing exhibition that deals with various aspects of southern ‘Plantation’ life.
In life, if we would think before we acted, what would happen? What misery would we avoid? What joy would we create?
I have made choices I regret and choices I cherish. Decisions cannot be remade. Once chosen they are final – the results of them will affect others and yourself for the rest of your life.
Our decisions affect others, no matter how much we try to ignore it. One may think, “I have no one close to me, whose life will be affected by my continued wrong decisions.” However, what if the continued wrong decisions are keeping those people out of your life? What if these were people you were supposed to meet, connect with, and change?
Your life is meant to benefit more than just yourself.
So again I ask, what would happen if we would “Think”?
Thinking about the right thing to do alone is not enough. In every situation we must think of the wisest thing to do, and then do it.
Thinking of the best thing to do and having good intentions ...