There was something so sad, and strange, and wonderful about them, that I couldn't stop thinking about the teddy bears. I kept looking for memorials around town. I have tons of memorial images from the internet stored in folders on my computer. The pervasiveness of violence means that more of these seem to pop up every day and flash across the news.
I wanted to make one. When I told my mom about it, she thought I was a little nuts. Would I be perceived as deceitful or insensitive? I didn't think so. So I went to the thrift store, bought a lot of weird stuff, and constructed one in the privacy of my own yard.
Ok. Cool. Now that that was out of the way. Where to go from there? We were scheduled to have our School of Art staff exhibition opening for Knoxville's First Friday in September. This would be my chance to exhibit something unconventional, for a large audience, and document it. So I made two more and thrust them out into the world.
I got a great, positive response. (No one thinks I'm crazy, Mom.) I don't quite have my head wrapped around a statement for them, and I've got a lot of things to think about. People have given me many leads of others who work with / research these. I've been told to look at the ones from other countries. This is a huge subject to mine, and I'm looking forward to seeing where it takes me. Putting them in a gallery setting was step one. In the mean time, enjoy some fancy, white-balanced documentation.
*The number one question I seemed to get asked off the bat was, "Did I take anything from real memorials?" A resounding no. Everything is mine. I aged, arranged, dried, and made it all, and making something intentional look spontaneous is not easy. The only thing I did take was the Yard Sale sign. You can't fake those, and I politely waited until the sale date had passed.