Everyone loves Muhammad Ali. Now.
Every jacket tells a story. Each one representing a single subject. The themes range anywhere from the Dust Bowl to Elvis at the White House. No subject is too heady for humor. No individual life without historical context. Why jackets? Good question, to go from jackets as clothing to leather jackets as biography or schemata as historical record is more than a hop skip and a jump in thought I know. With this project I discovered I could put a lot of skills and storytelling into a single piece. I am intrigued by telling a visual version of history. That within the confines of this project I get to be one part social archivist and one part obsessive storyteller. I can start with the more classical skills of painting, photography and portraiture, move on to the more arcane skills of embroidery and needlework, maybe pepper it with some hoochie mama costume craft, throw in a graphic design education, and continue on with text, text and more text. Perfect, I’ll use whatever I can to move the story forward. Once I get my hands on a jacket I set about filling up every available inch of real estate. Linings, pockets, you name it, it is all fair game to be worked and reworked and covered until I have woven my way in and out and around the subject and have no where left to go. This is a slow art form. Slow to make, and, if I have done my job right, slow to digest. Each jacket is meant to be peeled like an onion and poked around in. There is room here for a relationship with history that is personal rather than scholarly. There is room here for the off color joke, irony, the whispered prayer, the Optima typeface you run your hand across at the Vietnam War Memorial, the sacrosanct thing you are not supposed to poke with a stick but do anyway, the sacred, the profane, and all the words in between.