Artwork by Me
The bulk of my print work are photo manipulations using Adobe Photoshop, and collaborative projects between myself and other performers and artists — mostly hoopers! I also do installations, performance art, and dance videos.
The main theme I explore is how people use art to face or showcase their internal world. This includes depictions of struggle and bliss, the good and the bad. I often seek to capture the tipping point – the moment when the struggle overcomes the hardship.
To achieve this, I explore ways to create color contrasts and to creatively overlay color onto my subjects: often called “psyche” or “aura”. While I can do so through photo manipulations, I tend to experiment widely in these methods. I’ve used body paints, clay, masks, and more.
In 2015 I had the unique honor of touring the United States and filming Hula Hoopers! It was a great chance to meet an amazing number of performers and get to work with them. Before each collaboration, I would have a short conversation about exactly what we wanted to capture. Most of the time we decided on not trying to be perfect, to just play and discover what came out rather than trying to force a specific sequence or routine. We’d talk again after the video was produced and discuss what we got from it. This kind of no-pressure approach, I think, really helped people let go and dance. The results were phenomenal, as I got to see a number of performances that were breathtaking. The majority of the these videos were filmed in one take, and then blended together through the editing process.
One particularly amazing collaboration happened with Paige LaWall in Raleigh, North Carolina. Paige and I went right into the middle of downtown Raleigh and filmed a dance.
Though we had only just met that day, we were able to very quickly pin down the purpose of the dance, which to me is far more important than establishing a standardized choreography, though both certainly have their place!
I really enjoy this performance because it highlights this magic that dance has to let people be vulnerable. It’s a method of just letting go, bypassing all the mental muck that keeps people from putting things in perspective. This is why I enjoy art with a focus on personal development because people can use it to really get at the heart of things, often in very unexpected ways. Movement and expression can form its own kind of language, and it’s a language we all speak. Paige and I kept talking about this video for many months after, and it was clear to us that it provided an opportunity for us to keep thinking about personal development and our own separate journies. It started these kind of conversations with viewers too, and I find that amazing.
The Hooping Game
The hooping game started with a simple facebook dance challenge and turned into a 7,000 member community who have collectively recorded over 1,000 hours of dance videos with their hula hoops. I like to think of that in terms of smiles and associated dopamine released. I’d love to turn that into a quantifiable number. 🙂
You can see a running list of videos here.