In October I collaborated with Edgar Endress again, creating a set of pen and ink drawings and an acrylic painting on wood panel.
|Drawings in progress. Note the book of toile de jouy open for inspiration.|
In 2007, Edgar was working as one of the members of the ASCHOY Collective, conducting artistic research and social engagements in La Paz, Bolivia. The collective created a series of pieces exploring the social-political significance of the ski mask worn by the young boys working as shoeshiners on the streets of La Paz. One of the collective's actions was to create a ski mask embroidered with Bolivian religious imagery. The embroidered mask was used in public performances during which local shoeshiners were invited to wear the mask while walking the streets of La Paz followed by a musical band. The project was called "The Mask of the Shoe Shiner" and the photos of the performances are at once funny and poignant (be sure to scroll down the pdf for a look).
Recently, the ASCHOY Collective was invited to participate in a group show entitled "Ripple Effect: Currents of Socially Engaged Art", co-presented by the Art Museum of the Americas and the Washington Project for the Arts. Edgar invited me to create new artwork to accompany an installation of the photographic documentation and the embroidered ski mask from "The Mask of the Shoe Shiner".
|The completed set of drawings ready to be scanned and printed as wallpaper.|
I made pen drawings using the aesthetic language of toile de jouy, substituting shoeshiners wearing ski masks, cholitas, and llamas instead of mythical figures and aristocrats at their leisure. The drawings were scanned and then arranged into a pattern that was printed as wall paper.
|Acrylic painting on found wood to be used as a kind of altar piece.|
I also painted a kind of altar piece on found wood. The figures are inspired by the angelic figures of Michelangelo's "Last Judgement" on the wall of the Sistine Chapel, except, in my painting, the angels are wearing ski masks and carrying the tools of the shoeshiner. More photos of the work in progress can be seen on my Tumblr page. While researching the kinds of tools and clothing used by the Bolivian shoeshiners, I came across a short documentary entitled "Shoe Shiners in Bolivia" that quickly gave me a sense of the daily life of a shoeshiner.
|The completed acrylic painting ready for installation.|
"The Mask of the Shoe Shiner" is on view at the Art Museum of the Americas October 25, 2012 to January 13, 2013.