“Your Face, Your Place in History” (Future project)
I am looking for funding and interest in installation in this project, in Baltimore or other communities. We deserve to have all our citizens portraited and to feel honored that they will will be appreciated for years to come.
“Your Face, Your Place in History”
The story of many communities, especially Baltimore, needs to include portraits that reflect their modern diversity - including those faces who aren't often seen on walls in cultural institutions. There are faces around the city, country and world that are not seen, both to themselves and to their community.
Before photography, silhouettes were the way non-wealthy people could have their portraits made in the era when the rich showed their wealth by commissioning a painted portrait. Baltimore has a long tradition with silhouettes, as they were cut here in Baltimore at the Peale Museum starting in 1815. Silhouettes were called “the poor man’s portrait”; but in reality, the poor rarely would have even a silhouette made. As a result we have few old portraits of the people on the lower economic rungs of society’s ladder. However the people who had their silhouettes made were able to pass them on for generations; many "old fashioned" paper silhouettes have outlived digital media, making silhouettes a true sustainable portrait form.
I would like to freehand-cut, in person, silhouettes of all types of people in Baltimore, or any other city or town - then create a frieze of the silhouettes for temporary or permanent display. All portraits would be profiles, all in the same color - classic [black] silhouettes, showing respect for the beauty and dignity of each individual without regard to economic status or skin color. To have contemporary portraits on historical walls would allow community residents to see themselves honored, but also to visualize themselves as a part of history.
For the participating sitters, it may be the first time they have sat for a portrait, or seen their faces recognized in a public place. All of my sitters also receive their own silhouette portrait to take home. They can look at their silhouette portrait to remind them of their experience, or even pass their silhouette down through generations as the 'historical' silhouettes have been passed down.
I would like the resulting silhouette portraits to be installed in a frieze and exhibited.
The resulting silhouette sittings, silhouette frieze of faces, will reach hundreds, perhaps many thousands of people in Baltimore and beyond.
Silhouettes are cut freehand, with only scissors, live in-person with people from the community. The process takes less than two minutes for the sitter. Even though the time is brief, most people are flattered to have someone focus on them for an entire two minutes and then receive the elegant portrait at the end. During the sitting, the person and I have a conversation. Since many people don’t feel heard, or don’t speak to strangers in an intimate, friendly, yet completely respectful, close way, the conversation is part of the experience; they are seen for themselves (literally).
The silhouettes are laterrecut with a vector-based cutting machine and prepared for installation. Details for installation are custom to the interested location.