Artist Statement

 
 

My interest is people.  
I observe them.  
I make up stories about them.  
I paint pictures of them.  
I get into their shoes.  

My paintings are inspired by the Library of Congress Farm Security Administration photo and negatives archives, 175,000 black and white, copyright- free images that document the lives of American people living between the Great Depression and the years leading up to WWII and that were rescued, digitalized and published online as a gift to the public. These intimate portraits of individuals, families, and their communities depict a nation’s daily life struggle in the wake of natural and man-made disasters.  

My paintings pay homage to the talented photographers employed by the FSA who include John Vachon, Arthur Rothstein, Ben Shahn and Russell Lee, among others. I am most drawn to pictures of the South where cotton was still produced on small rural farms and where parades were the rule rather than the exception.  

My main goal is to entice people to exercise their “empathy  muscles” by putting themselves into the shoes of the subjects of my paintings.  I hope they will remember or imagine the lives of their grandparents and even great- grandparents.  I hope they will be curious and seek out the photos from the FSA, research the photographers, and familiarize themselves with this era culturally, politically, and artistically.