Photographs taken of apartments I’ve lived in are “updated” with acrylic paint in a manner similar to “whiting-out” a document, “removing” the persons and belongings that are no longer present after I vacated. Being fully aware of the textural differences between the photographic space and the painted surface, and allowing the audience to detect the alteration and cover-up effort, I am communicating how I often feel when taking a last look at the now-foreign space I once occupied. No matter how well I have restored the apartment/room to its original condition, the memory of my occupation lingers.
In addition, imagery created by acrylic paint and photographic ink is generally considered permanent and irreversible. Yet, without truly knowing how these two mediums, when combined, will deteriorate with time, their color contrast will likely increase gradually, perhaps at different rates. Eventually only the imagery of the long removed-belongings preserved under paint will remain, acting as my acknowledgement of the fact that the only controllable aspect of permanence lies in what has been lost.
Do Not Disturb is the extension of The Vacation Series, based on the hotel rooms I stayed when away from home.
Windows are like a proscenium, making spectators and actors of those on both sides of the glass. People looking in to windows pry, at times catching the glance of the people within who are surveying the street and staring out at them. Windows are also a display case of our private world - we are conscious of the items we place near them and what those objects reveal about us.
After conceiving 16 Windows and Conspicuous Inoccupancy, I began creating photomontages of windows from the many photos I’ve taken over the years, to catalogue and juxtapose the similarities and differences in our lives. Like my earlier work, the photographs were taken in cities I once called home, cities I visited before they were my home, and on my travels. The windows featured in Travelogue are removed from their context, stripped of time and space, to accentuate how our way of living, despite the minor differences, are in many ways universal.
Permanent Artwork in Fused Glass for MTA Arts for Transit Program, Canarsie Line New Lots Avenue Subway Station Permanent Art Project
2005 - 2007
Fabricator: Franz Mayer of Munich, Inc.
Total Budget: $90,000
16 Windows consists of 16 fused glass panels to depict the view of looking into the windows of different residents’ homes and the daily lives of New Yorkers. Permanently situated on the New Lots Avenue Station outdoor subway platforms, eight “neighbors” are engaged in daytime activities associated with making their way to work on the Manhattan Bound platform. Upon their return and stepping off the Canarsie Bound train, subway riders observe another eight “neighbors” who have already begun their evening rituals. By offering a fictional “reverse window watching” experience for the riders at the New Lot Avenue station, I further suggest that act of looking into windows too is a collective experience for New Yorkers.
Digital images on magnetic sheets on used refrigerator
61” x 28” x 29”
Refrigerator magnets are one of the most common forms of travel souvenirs that serve as a reminder of places once visited, both during and between daily domestic activities. The advent of online shopping has made possible the purchase of destination magnets of anywhere in the world by anyone, anywhere in the world. It is now to have travel magnets of a place you’ve never been.
Travel Magnets is a user-participatory art project in which people from all over the world were asked to submit photographs of residential windows, to be reproduced as refrigerator magnets. Participants who kindly offered their financial support through Kickstarter will be awarded 1 or more random magnets from someone else’s window when the exhibition is over.
By juxtaposing refrigerators between the large windows of Smack Mellon Gallery located at Brooklyn, NY, Travel Magnets attempts to bring glimpses of domesticity to an artistic venue and area of the city which was formerly known for heavy manufacturing and commerce. Like a place of import/export and exchange, the magnets will be assembled from images from all around the world, will be seen as a whole in the exhibition space, and then be dispatched randomly to the participants. The magnets will serve as a souvenir of a place or home that the participant may never visit, but they will instantly recognize the imagery as something that has the power to be both unknown and universal at the same time: home.
This series is created for the Brooklyn Utopias?
Windows are a conduit between the interior of the private domain and the public space outdoors. As a passerby, I look to open windows for clues about the habitants and a glimpse of their lives. For whatever I cannot see through those windows, I can always count on there to be more than what meets the eye. If windows were to be covered by blinds, curtains, or shutters, one can assume or expect it to be temporary. If all evidence of these temporary coverings was removed one can speculate that the future tenants would install new ones in the near future. But, when windows are boarded up, such a fixture of permanence signals an end to all possibility and curiosity, as though the building’s fate has been forever sealed. Such destitution, in my neighborhood, can linger for years.
My utopian vision for Brooklyn is simply to un-board all abandoned or confiscated buildings, so that I can resume imagining that someday, they will be occupied again, even if they must be vacant for now.
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Barrier design commissioned by New York City Department of Transportation, Urban Art Program
Location: Flushing Avenue between Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
"Interlocking gears are a metaphor for the relationship between pedestrians, bicycles, and automobiles, as the successful functioning of our transportation system relies on the predictable motion from each part,
which in turn directly influences the motion of its immediate interlocking part."
With support from the NYC Department of Transportation's Urban Art Program in partnership with New York Cares and the Mayor's Community Affairs Unit.
Special thanks to NYC Community Cleanup, Benjamin Packer, Chris Hagerty, Roseanne Bergeron, Joshua Edwards, Shari Zolla and the NY Cares volunteers who helped realize this project.
Mock proposal for the Lexington Line, 77th Street Station - Lenox Hill Hospital Station, New York, NY
2007 The National Academy Abbey Mural Workshop
Proposed material: mosaic tiles on station platform walls
Total Budget: $300,000
The Rite of Passage pairs the ambulatory environment of a hospital and a subway station through the creation of a series of vignettes showing patients moving from one hospital room to another, through change of medical condition or procedure. Stripped of emotion and individual identity, every hospital patient, visitor and employee is depicted in an iconic form to emphasize that this artwork is not about the individual circumstances and outcomes within the hospital experience, but rather how our life, as a whole, unfolds uncertainly, as we are being ushered from one room to another.
Finalist's Proposal for the Emmett O'Brien Technical High School Project
Commissioned by the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, 2009
Laminated acid-etch and painted glass, Lumisty film, metal, LED light strips
Total Budget: $290,000
Open Combination is a site-specific creation that the mundane experience of walking down a high school hallway into a series of aesthetic experiences involving radiant school lockers made with back-lit and painted tempered glass. Fleeting images represent paths and possibilities for students at Emmett O’Brien Technical High School will emerge behind the locker glass layer with the use of Lumisty film, which turns the glass transparent at one angle, but blurry at another angle, make this work interactive based on audience’s walking movement.
The complexity of the New York City Subway has fascinated me since I first encountered the system in 2002 and compelled me to create a painting to help me understand why the New York Subway system is the way it is, starting from the very beginning.
Beginning with the Elevated and trains in Manhattan and the existing Railroads in Brooklyn around middle of 19th Century, and through the unification of the 3 subway companies in 1940, I chronicled with paint the changes to the New York Subway System on the same painting, pdated it as changes were implemented by whiting-out lines that were eliminated, and changing the colors of the existing lines when a new color coding scheme was implemented.
Before any major subway overhaul that requires a substantial reworking on the painting, I took slides to document the painting after every change. With a total of 10 images gathered, of a painting that bears little resemblance to its starting phase, I turned them into a morphing animation to display how the painting evolved over the one year period of its creation. By watching the animation, viewers will not only able to witness how the subway system and the painting evolved, but to observe how I eventually took a different route with the way I completed the painting. The current image was far from what I had in mind at the beginning.
Though we have superb printing technology available to us, publishers in this country seem to have a varying opinion about the colors and designs of flags. Despite the specific color value range and design of flags established by each country, the flags reproduced in one publication often do not resemble those in another publication.
The red tape produced by one manufacturer often does not resemble the red tape produced by another. To express this idea of color inconsistency in flag publishing, I used various shades of tape on the same flag painting.
Tape can resemble brush strokes in that the fixed width of tape can be associated with the size of a paintbrush. One can adjust the way a brush is held to create a different width of brushstroke or, fill in a large area using repeated brush strokes. The tape equivalents are to tear lengthwise or, use the tape repeatedly to fill space. The layering technique is a common painting process while it is also the only way to make certain colors possible. By layering different colors and thickness of tape, I was able to create different color intensities and maximize the color possibilities. The various thickness and material of tape can be seen as an equivalent to the tinting strength and opacity of traditional paint.
an on-going painting since April 2000
The process of painting parallels my struggle with revolving credit card debt and my curiosity towards the evolution of the New York City subway system. Painting over and wiping away also mimics the passage of time as each layer added is wiped away and replaced, while leaving evidence and traces along the way.
I receive this particular credit card’s statements on every third week of the month, and made payments by the second week of the following month. I update the painting to display how debt really works: I wipe out the old numbers as the new monthly credit card statement arrives, in a sense invalidating the previous month’s statement. The new figures are written in the same exact location, in charcoal, along with the unavoidable residue of charcoal dust from the previous layer.
Debt, like paint, is a stain, and difficult to remove. Drastic resurfacing occurs after I perform a balance transfer. I use layers and layers of acrylic paint to cover up the stains, creating the illusion that I have a fresh start on my debt.