A foreigner. A stranger. A tourist. Venturing into an alien culture engenders one with a special kind of naivety. With starry-eyed wonder the tourist traipses through the hustle and bustle of a different kind of living, dangerous in their confidence – trusting with deadly abandon. This lithograph depicts the fate of one such tourist traveling through the depths of the digital realm. Afflicted by the mesh of a tumblrized aesthetic, the bright expression of the traveler begins to fracture and fade. Key components of their identity take precedence above the rest and begin to mutate from their fetish like focus. These few aspects of the persona create a curatorial façade while the rest loses definition beneath a wave of constant stimuli. It is most assuredly a hostile environment. Prolonged exposure is dangerous for almost anyone, but to the inexperienced it can mean serious injury—or even death.
Inspired by The Collected Works of Billy the Kid, a book of poetry by Michael Ondaatje, this lithograph confronts the modern western gunfighter myth. An age of sublime masculinity and violence is approached by the Artist with sensitivity and tenderness. These were men clouded in myth and modern storytelling. Memorialized and crucified beneath the effigy of their perverse celebrity. These were outlaws and criminals. These were folk heroes and bandits alike. Pushed to the edges of society, they were often pushed too far. These were rugged men, tenacious and powerful, assured in their purpose.
Yet here captured is a tremendous sob. A silent confession. The humanity of the gunfighter is restored at the moment of his death. He is weak and he is small and he is alone. He will be remembered for a few things—things, that in a different life, we could be sure he would never do.
It has been said that William H. Bonney killed 21 men (8 of which historians confirm). We remember him for his violence, and we laud his talent for killing. How often do we discuss his penchant for fancy dress, or how delicate and small his hands were?
This is the first in a series of large figurative prints. The series itself is an exploration of the human figure as it breaks down within its various spheres of existence. Social and personal perception are wielded together to create fractured, grotesque, and often fantastical reimagining of the human form. These life sized figures are personalities unto themselves and engage with the viewer as much as the viewer engages with them. In approaching these figures there is a very real moment of contact. A mutual regard. The viewer stares into an alternate reality, a possibly future. Whatever it may happen to be, it stares right back.