This series was a very personal exploration into the fear, anxiety, depression, and self doubt that I have experienced. It is an introspective examination of what fear is, how it slowly creeps into our thoughts. How fears can pass suddenly, or can begin to ruminate and become an obsession, a focus that seems to grow and manifest into this over exaggeration of self doubt. It can cause us to reflect on all our decisions and view them as wrong. It brings to light all of our past mistakes and allows them to overshadow what we have accomplished and what we look forward to doing. These thoughts seem to control our actions and override our ability to make clear decisions. Second guessing even very simple decisions, we are left paralyzed and mentally overwhelmed. Do these negative thoughts shape us more than we think? Are we really more a creation of things we chose not to do than what we actively decided to do? The main imagery in this series is based around the Dung Beetle and one symbol of anxiety - the judging eye, representing our self perception and fear of the judgment of others. The Dung beetle was used in Egyptian Iconography to symbolize the cycle of the sunrise and sunset. Pushing the sun across the sky everyday as if it were a ball of dung. This trait of the Dung beetle resinated with me and personally symbolized the cycle of negative thoughts, and how fears and anxieties are continuously pushed and dragged around our minds. Ruminating, building, and exhausting us only to resurface the next day with equal force.
While working on this series I had the opportunity to relocate the studio to Norway. Living outside of Oslo on a rural mountain side in the Norwegian woods. On our first trip into Oslo we were walking through the city in search of an art supply store. As we walked along the backside of the government building a huge explosion went off. The ground and buildings shook around us. Huge pains of glass from buildings exploded outwards onto the street toward our direction. Car windows shattered as alarms and sirens filled the streets. As we gained our composure and slowly recovered from shock. I knew that this had been a terrorist attack and that we had been extremely close to getting killed. Not knowing what would happen next we headed to the main bus terminal and got out of Oslo. By the time we arrived home news had spread about the explosion. It was a truck bomb that was parked outside of the government building and had killed 8 people and injured over 200. But other news was breaking too. There was a mass shooting taking place on an island called Utøya and numerous children were being killed. In total 77 people (mostly children) were victims of the combined terrorist attacks executed by Andres Behring Breivik on July 22 2011. The confusion and disbelief that followed this event was ever present for the remainder of the year long period we lived there.
Since I was putting together a solo show entitled Fear F*cked in Norway, based on fear and anxiety, and having personally been impacted by the Oslo Bombing. I felt it necessary to include a few pieces that related to my experience, as well as the event as a whole into my exhibition. What happened in Norway was an exact reflection of one persons fears and beliefs, how they can rule your life, manifesting into extreme hatred and violence. One of the motivations for the attack was a hatred towards the Liberal government party and the increase of multiculturalism. I created 4 portraits of Breivik entitled Sh*t Head. These pieces were a reinterpretation of a portrait he had professionally taken prior to the attacks, which he wanted the media to use when covering his terrorist acts. All 4 portraits were screen printed on wood, stained with my blood and horse dung. 3 portraits included a ‘?’, ‘X’ , and a ‘target symbol’ placed over his face. These 3 symbols were screen printed with my blood 77 times to represent each of his victims. This is to say that one layer of blood was printed, then allowed to dry, another squeegee pass was then hand pulled on top of that layer and so on, until 77 individual pulled layers were printed. This created close to 1 cm of thickness in blood of each of the symbols.
Find out more about the terror attacks of July 22 2011 and view my pictures from that day HERE.
You can view the Sh*t Head portraits HERE.
Watch the screen printing process and the making of the Sh*t Head portraits HERE.
Read the original artist statement and view the Oslo courthouse protest pictures taken during the murder trail HERE
The interview with Korean based [b]racket magazine can be read HERE
Continue to the Fear F*cked HERE.