While sitting on a park bench or on a nearby stoop, what do I see? What do I want to see? For me, it has always been about observation. I gaze at the man holding his briefcase while he strides to make the light, or the woman walking by with her coffee in hand. These are some of the individuals who make up this world, and I am curious to see how they live in it. Sometimes, I think to myself—what would it be like to live in another person’s shoes? What would I do? Who would I be?
Nina and I travelled to five different cities within the United States in search of people, places and circumstances that merited observation. For us, it was an adventure tied to little or no familiarity of what we would find; but a chance to acknowledge our observant natures, knowing that we would come back and collectively, create a body of work based on our findings.
At the end of our travelling endeavor I realized that the true pleasure of our findings lied in all the people we encountered along the way. I like to think of these individuals as characters that played a part in Nina and mines adventure, and I felt so captivated by them and the way they molded our experiences, that I wanted to play their part. From city to city and state to state, the types, subcultures, mannerisms and even fashion choices are uniquely different, yet equally interesting: I decided the characters we came across within all the unique American subcultures we encountered, were worthy of acknowledgment.
In the moment I fulfill the challenge of playing the role of a man or another woman, I feel a sense of gratification; as if for that moment I have satiated my curiosity of what it would be like to be in somebody else’s shoes. I have created an index of all the noteworthy characters Nina and I encountered during our travels, while placing them in fictitious versions of the places we met them in.
This purposefully kitschy and illusory body of work is a collaboration between Nina and I, which we started in order to share our artistic perspectives. By experiencing and observing what we did, together, Nina was able to fulfill the vision of our characters by not only styling each one into the exaggerated, imaginary versions of the real people, but she helps the overall vision by playing many of the characters as well. By having Nina play the characters as well as myself, it offers me the opportunity to be both an actor and a director, which is a more familiar, uninterrupted way for me to work, as an artist, while also offering the viewer varied perspectives on our interpretations.