I (this is Michele writing) used to do a lot of narrative/figurative work. Each collage had a short story attached to it. Sometimes the art came first, sometimes the story. I always wanted to tell stories of the kids I worked with while doing nonprofit work for 14ish years. I made a few solid artworks but had to stop before I drowned in their realities. In art school I was taught to paint conceptually. In short, paint about something really important. Speak from the heart. Make really important and well crafted work.
I wanted the story of the challenges many kids face to be projected into the world in a way that would make a change, or at least a dent. Poverty, broken families, underfunded education, lack of resources needed to move out of poverty, the revolving door of detention facilities...a butterfly effect many years in the making. This would be really important work. Really daunting, overwhelming, blank canvas staring, depressing work.
I made these 3 artworks about 10 years ago. Some of the collage elements came from the kids. I hadn't been able to make anymore in this theme and depth until just recently. These artworks were the visual catalyst for a Rocket Grant that we (Rich, Crystal and I ) got a few years ago and the project will be completed this year. The story melds the stories of kids we worked with in detention facilities, project housing, and low income schools. Art is Long, Life is Short focuses on 3 fifteen year old characters named Darian, Harmony and Marquez. If your curious about this story, you can view our first start here. We have since scrapped this visual style and are now creating the story in a video format with 3-d backdrops and brought on another artist to contribute. The work is hard to make and unfortunately still very relevant 20 years later.
I welcome any comments.
If any of the talented artists that I was so fortunate to work along side of during my time in nonprofit are reading this, thank you for everything. I think of you often.
Here is a sneak peek into the new format for Art is Long, Life is Short story: