Transcript: A Seattle artist cuts through the chaos of a pandemic
Video link: https://crosscut.com/video/new-normal/seattle-artist-cuts-through-chaos-pandemic
When COVID hit, I was just like rocking it.
I had people in here, every week in here, cutting and we were just on this crazy schedule.
Then boom, velocity stopped.
It was like the train hitting the wall.
And all of a sudden it was just me.
And then with the upheaval that we've been through
sparked by George Floyd,
but obviously so many things leading up to that.
And all of a sudden there's this tinder wood that just goes up like a flame.
Something's wrong with the culture.
So our children are suffering as a result of it.
When COVID hit, the whole world stepped off the conveyor belt.
I've really limited my contact to one, two people in my working.
I was working today on
my series for the Geography of Innocence; that's for
the Seattle Art Museum show that's gonna open in November.
The Geography of Innocence show came up almost a year and a half ago.
It's all about geography and how we read things,
how we arrive and what you read when you see a face.
And what are the things that you bring to reading
that map of the face that are embedded in the culture.
About the geography, how far do you wanna travel?
You know, how much do you wanna know?
So when you look, you're framing it,
according to the cultural sort of precepts that go with that.
You know, the brown face. You know, the child.
It's really interesting, trying to make children
look like children, it's kinda hard.
The difference between, an older face and a young face sometimes it's just a line,
it's just a cut, it's just the shape of the mouth.
And so if you get that a little bit off,
you add five years or you add 10 years.
Young brown children get disciplined, you know,
Sort of in many different settings, and it's because we often imbue them
with knowledge about what — that they know what they're doing,
that they've got some sort of ulterior motive.
So the paper cutting and through the reveal, you know,
the reveal that you've seen in my cutting,
it's also kind of a metaphor.
And so that reveal is what builds up the body of the figure.
And there is kind of an illumination that comes through this open, vulnerable, loving.
It's just what you see.
Being by myself has not been some new torment.
What has been torment is that I can't control any of it, you know?
I'm the first generation in my family born outside of the South.
My family moved to the Northwest in the ’40s because of the war.
They were sharecropping farmworkers before they got here.
I am the sum total result of all of that dreaming, all of that effort.
The upheaval that we've been through.
We can't go back, and so how do we incorporate
this experience into the life, the life we have?
We can make something out of what we have left
for those of us who will come after this moment.
We've been given a chance maybe to do some things differently.