Monday, October 15, 2012

Death Wish

Death Wish. Stitched words: I just wanted to lie down and never wake up...Ignored...Social Outcast...Cut wrist and a bottle of aspirin...Loner...Psych Ward...Beaten...At 16 I thought it would just be best if I wasn't around at all...Attempted Suicide. Xylene photo transfer on tea-stained muslin.  Hand stitched.  25” x 18” unframed; 31” x 25” framed.

During the summer of 2008, Arlee Barr ( emailed me privately, volunteering for this portrait. I sent her a standard model's release. She signed and returned it. She scanned a photo taken of her when she was sixteen and emailed it as a high-resolution image. We also corresponded about this time during her life. I selected and altered several phrases from her message. Of course I shared these with Arlee first.

I stitched this piece while enjoying six weeks at an artist residency program in that fall.  It is called the MacNamara Foundation and is located on Westport Island, Maine.  Stitching on a Decision Portrait Series piece was wonderful.  It allowed me to immediately start working on a familiar project, comfortable material, and with a clear goal.

Once this piece was finished, I sent an image to Arlee. I wanted her to see it before I posted on my blog. At this point, I also asked Arlee whether she wanted me to use her name or not. The choice was hers.  Her life has changed for the positive since these dark days.  She was pleased with the results.

I'm also very pleased with the portrait. I wanted the words to swirl around her head as if visualization of the internal thoughts. The phrase at the top and bottom are therefore couched straight across and in a different shade because it is her adult reflection of life since these dark days.

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