Monday, October 15, 2012

State of the Economy

State of the Economy. Stitched words: I never thought I would apply for food stamps; Trying to make ends meet; Work, work, work; College Grad; Just getting by; Poor; Bills, bills, bills; Single Mom; No Cash; No insurance; Below Poverty level; Broke; This wasn't suppose to be my life. Xylene Photo transfer on tea-stained muslin. Found nails. Hand beaded and stitched. 25" x 19" unframed; 31" x 25" framed.  Click on image to enlarge.

Every day the news includes an item about "the state of the economy". Things are "bad" and often getting worse. People are losing their homes. Unemployment figures are on the rise. There are cut backs in government, industry, and in all types of funding. The arts are suffering. I wanted to stitch a portrait that addresses these changes and how decisions are being made in order to cope with the reality that few could adequate envision only a decade or so ago. I needed, however, someone willing to share such a decision, a brave individual who faced a dismal future and made a difficult personal choice.

I found this brave lady through a series of Internet messages. She's struggling to make ends meet as a single mother who never thought she'd be in this situation. She's an Ivy League college graduate who once lived comfortably with a bright, happy future ahead for her family.

A divorce is often a financial set back but in this economy it is doubly bad. Her ex-husband does pay alimony and child support.... but it is simply not enough. Jobs are hard to come by and she'd not actually "qualified" for those that might cover the rest of her expenses. She's working for less, trying to find a better paying job, and back in school. Her schedule is a juggling act of work, study, and two boys. She's downsized and moved. She skimps and does without. She has no insurance. All the while, she's hopeful and determined to "figure it all out" and "improve" the current dilemma. One of the important decisions she made was apply for food stamps.... something she never thought she'd have to do.

This is a portrait of a brave individual struggling with the current economic hardships that now mark life in the USA. Although it is one person, the artwork is meant as a reflection of all those coping with the "state of the economy". It is meant to confront all those at the exhibition with a smiling, happy face of the "working poor" who have had to make decisions that weren't suppose to be in their futures.

I hope people seeing this portrait reflect on the real people that are struggling, coping, and facing overwhelming odds they are powerless to change. I hope people ask themselves, "What if this were me? How would I act? What would I do? What can I do for others?"

No comments: