m. david & co.|artist residency
In December 2018 I participated in the M. David & Co. artist residency in the Bushwick area of Brooklyn, NY for one week. Working with Michael David (artist, curator and gallerist, visionary and general badass) and through the assistance of Program Director Bonny Leibowitz, I embarked on what would be a life-changing experience.
Through critical dialogue with Michael David and Professor Emeritus and Chairman of the Dry Erase Board Paul D'Agostino as well as the artist camaraderie, I witnessed an amazing amount of growth in a very short time (5 days) influencing me to take many risks and to jump further than ever before. It was a leap of faith. The residency (think Black Mountain meets Project Runway) is modeled after a school and Atelier program Michael built in Atlanta FAWS - The Fine Art Workshop.
The theme for this residency was Folded based on the concept of folding into oneself, folding into another and how we hide and reveal within our art. I worked with Michael David via Skype for a month prior to the residency discussing the concept for my project in order to prepare for my time in Bushwick. These discussions were invaluable, enlightening and a safe space to share. The goal was to create specific work for the gallery and then, through interaction with each other, guest crits from Paul D'Agostino and artist/teacher Farrell Brickhouse and numerous conversations with Michael David, evolve the work into a fluid, unified exhibit.
My installation titled 'Hide and Seek' addressed the questions of self-identity and acceptance. Using myself as the model - blatant and hidden in different components at the different stages of revealing oneself became a self-portrait. This mixed media project enlisted the components of styrofoam, mylar, photography, polaroids, and light to present a front-facing image of my exterior shell that I present to the world. Symbolic, confronting, strong and mutating - the image is powerful. The viewer is enticed to explore the installation unknowingly becoming voyeuristic. The installation invites the viewer to intimately engage with the Polaroids revealing vulnerability and exposing a glimpse of my private world. The timing for this concept is serendipitous, for the last two years I've been navigating the release of a life long program of addiction, hurt, anger and shame for being a gay man. It's been a discovery of self-acceptance and authenticity stripping away to it's most basic and fundamental form, self-love. Encompassing the themes of self-expression, body image, finding voice, reinvention, and self-acceptance. This residency helped me find freedom, both personally and professionally in my art.