Like the oarsman’s duty to drive the roman warship, the artist has a duty to drive society. Like the oarsman, not only have I soldiered in defense of my nation, but also, it is through my work as an artist that I am able to participate in shaping its future.
In 2004 I was stationed in Iraq, serving as a geospatial analyst in the US Army as a means to eventually pursue my dream of an education in the arts. Here I learned of the great power government wields with Unmanned Arial Vehicle technology known as Drones. These aerial robots can be used to anonymously track, target and kill suspected terrorists and even an unsuspecting 16 year old American citizen. This experience has played a great role in shaping the artist I am today. Like all artists of our time, I create work to communicate, but it is the manner in which the viewer consumes the work and the overall effect it has that sets this work apart. Like Camus’ oarsman, I create out of a duty to depict our surroundings through my own lens, that of my life’s experience. My experience in the military shed light on aspects of our society and the world I would have never been exposed to otherwise. It is through this lens and motivated by my artistic duty in service to society that my work was born.
Using fear as a tool, and inspired by the power which we all possess to transform society, I explore the unknown through surrealist notions of altering an object’s context and thus its associated connotations. By altering the expected messages of the monotonous and mundane street signs and public service announcements that surround us everyday, I was able to create a sense of cognitive dissonance and in doing so invoke awareness, introspection, and dialogue. I use photographs to augment my installation work by emphasizing the surreal relationship between individual identity and information, in one image depicting the ubiquitous nature of information and how our identity becomes a regurgitation of the information we consume.