Feb 20, 2013



A few years ago I did a portrait project using close-up photos of skin instead of the more traditional face/body approach. These close-up photos show the intimate trace of a life, from wrinkles to stretch marks to scars to texture. It's a portrait from a lover's perspective, showing all the up-close beauty, wonder and flaws to which only a lover is privy.

To make them I photographed the skin all over a person's body, inches away, from head to toe. The resulting "portrait" consists of dozens of individual photos arranged in a grid, all of the same person. (I've yet to do a group portrait consisting of multiple people mixed together tho it's a great idea.)

When I started to think about how to display them, I decided to painstakingly mount each individual 3 x 4.5" print onto matte board, then glue a piece of magnet sheet to the back of the board. I could then use a sheet of metal as the mounting surface for the grid of tiles that forms each "portrait". (A quick glance at some of the finished pieces on my website might make this more clear.) That's been several years ago and despite having the work in a few shows, the project never came together in a way that fully realized my vision. Hate that. 

I was cleaning house over the weekend and came across several boxes of these skin tiles. "Not likely to use these ever again" minimalist self said to pack rat self. "Toss them, you'll feel lighter." At the dumpster, my inner pack rat longingly gave them one last caress and, since the dumpster is steel, I stuck one on the side just for fun. One thing led to another and before I knew it I was re-creating a portion of Danuza's portrait on the side of the dumpster.

One idea behind graffiti is to get art out into the world where everyone can see it, not just the rarefied gentry who visits art gallerie and museums. Placing something as intimate and delicate as close-up photos of skin on a trash bin is thought provoking. It might also be trite, I can't really tell. What do you think? 

I also like the fact that, like real skin, these will weather w/ age…and not always so well.  I have no idea what I'm going to do with this, but for now it gives me a smile every time I take out the trash. 

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