Working With the Artists' Collective

As an artist, psychoanalyst, clinical social worker and world traveler I have explored some of the most remote regions of the globe as well as the human psyche.  My bodies of work Travels Through Humanity and, most recently, Citizens of the World are a culmination of both my personal and professional journey to experience the world by looking more deeply to what lies beneath, so as to examine the unfiltered truth and illuminate the connections of a shared humanity.

In our local community I have, for several years, served as Clinical Supervisor for a local organization, Friendship Shelter, providing guidance and direction to University of Southern California Master Social Work Interns as they navigate the complex issues of their academic assignment.  As a result of that work and because of my own artistic development, I soon volunteered to facilitate an adjunct group of current and former Friendship Shelter Residents who share the common experience of not just homelessness but of vocational artist.  The Artists’ Collective has included muralists, painters, performers and designers, all of whom have had their work exhibited professionally throughout southern California, including several local group showings.

While photographic images remain central to this body of work, I have begun experimenting with The Artists’ Collective, using our diverse perspectives, talents and media in an integrated and multi-disciplinary approach to create a single piece of work that is   informed by multi-faceted ways of seeing and understanding.

This piece shown here began as a panoramic photograph of Huli warriors from Papua New Guinea playing drums and meditating through sounds together.  Each of the artists of the Artists’ Collective added their own dimension and interpretation to the piece.  Business suits were painted on several of the tribal men and the trees of the jungle became buildings and skyscrapers in an urban jungle.  Another one of the artists, who is interested in marine life, painted beautiful salt-water fish into the painting so as to ask ‘who is seeing whom’ and from what perspective?  Another artist played with the mat surrounding the piece, painting it green and adding textures to extend the imagery of the drummer’s hair and the colors in their drums.  This photograph became transformed into a multi-media piece with more layers and dimensions.  I am reminded of a poem, ‘Hokusai Says’ by Roger Keyes who asks:  ‘Hokusai says look carefully.  He says pay attention, notice.  He says keep looking, stay curious.  He says there is no end to seeing.’

This is a recording of the Artist Collective as they appeared on KX 93.5 on 6/10/13. Click HERE to listen to it.

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