Master of Art Education
My work is a document of my investigation into the increasing sense of awareness I feel regarding my place in the dominating, imperialist, capitalist culture that I have lived my entire life within. Without endorsing this system, I acknowledge that I have benefited a great deal from the economic model that our country currently operates upon but I am also deeply aware of, and increasingly disturbed by, the ways in which this same economic model has enacted violence, and oppression upon so many people. As I continually learn more about this and reflect upon it, I feel a profound sense of conflict and hypocrisy in criticizing a culture that I continue to participate in and tacitly endorse, through my silence and privilege.
I use images of products and commodities that I have deep, often positive, personal connections to as a starting point for my work. Houses under construction that I explored as a child, boats and life vests that I have happy memories of during summer vacation as a kid, a rat that I found in the garage of my childhood home. From my position of power and privilege, I experienced these objects in ways that were positive in some way. A person who doesn’t hold my place of privilege would experience these objects in markedly different ways, ways that I can only imagine and do my best to empathize with.
I use these images as signifiers which I draw and eventually combine in digital collage to simultaneously communicate conflicting and combined ideas of comfort, happiness domination, and violence. I use these memories of images and the drawings that I create in response to them in order to create patterns which attempt to echo the confusing, convoluted and intertwining patterns that I find myself entangled in as a participant in a deeply inequitable system. Combining these objects with patterns modeled after wallpaper with each other, I create a decorative background space for my objects to reside within. This echoes the idea that the violence and domination that are inherent in our current societal model are so ingrained and inherent to the system that they ultimately function as a decorative, banal backdrop to the lives of ambivalent, privileged people such as myself who benefit undeservedly from that system. Creating these images has been an experience in acknowledging, and taking honest ownership of my place in a society which is so comfortable with inequality, violence and domination for the sake of the comfortable and privileged.
What my time at KCAD meant to me
My time at Kendall has been a really fantastic experience. I’ve really appreciated the way that the MAE program has empowered me to thoughtfully combine being an art maker, an art teacher, and an academic in my field. The coursework was challenging, engaging and personalized, and it definitely made me a better teacher for my students.