Welcome to the art project, Fruits of the sun (for all the unknowns). Throughout summer 2017 I hosted pop-up portrait drawing sessions at locations around Portland, inviting participants to sign-up as live models. I made over seventy 11x17 inch portraits. This project idea came to be after I attended a panel discussion about art and activism. The main question I left with was how can I cultivate empathy through art making? This project is my attempt to get out of my studio and comfort zone. By observing and recording the faces that exist in the world around me I sought to connect on a new level to my fellow Portlanders. What do these faces say? Are they haggard, youthful, nervous? How can I express our common humanity through art mediums? Is the drawing secondary to the interaction? The drawings were made with handmade paper embedded with various types of seeds. On Thursday August 3rd I exhibited all the drawings at the Portland Art Museum for a one night pop-up exhibition. The drawings will be planted in partnership with the Urban Farm Collective at their Fargo Food Forest Location on Friday, September 15th. At the Food Forest the paper will act as fertilizer for the seeds, and the drawings will decay.
I hope that by making ephemeral objects that I can encourage viewers to think about the fragility of life and that decay can lead to new growth, transformation and possibility. By letting go of the physical object into which I put my labor I am focusing on the activity of art-making. Documenting and sharing the project online will be a way for the images to live on beyond their physical form. I will raise questions about the commodification of art objects and people, the value of labor (especially in relation to art making), the possibilities for art to create community, and the mutable nature of empathy.
As you navigate through the blog entries on the website you can view all of the portraits and most of the models who participated, and get a glimpse into the process of making the project come to life.