Monday, October 15, 2012


Runaway. Stitched words: At 15 I hitch hiked to NYC. Xylene photo transfer on tea-stained muslin. Hand embroidered and beaded. 25" x 19" unframed; 31" x 25" framed.  Click on image to enlarge.

Jean Bourque ( is a talented visual artist living in Columbia, South Carolina and enjoying Internet connections with people all over the globe using her blog and every networking system currently available. She's very productive, very reliable, very professional, and actively promotes art everywhere. Jean is always helping other artists too. She's helped me find "models" for several Decision Portraits and volunteered for this one, Runaway.

At first I couldn't believe it! How could this intelligent, even-tempered, dependable, hardworking artist have ever been a runaway? Had she once been a "troubled teenager" or some sort of social outcast? Had she been failing in school, disruptive at home, or come from an abusive family? All these stereotypical ideas of a "runaway" flooded my brain.


I know this! It is my series after all! I talk about stereotypes all the this series is meant to get people THINKING about the decisions made by others, especially the ones that challenge stereotyped ideas. This one challenged me. I didn't understand that runaways leave home for all sorts of reasons.... not just the "bad ones".

Jean was a good student, well adjusted, and mature for her age when she hitch-hiked to New York City. She was fifteen years old and wanted to protest against the Viet Nam war in which her father was fighting. She earned a living as best she could, often stitching the fancy, floral based embroidery designs popular on bell-bottomed jeans and matching denim jackets. She was gone for nearly two years. She looks back on those days as a time of youthful passion, heightened creativity, and bravery beyond the norm. I selected the decorative Indian appliqués for the piece because they remind me of just the sort of thing one might use to ornate a pair of Levi's!

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