Friday, December 17, 2004

how do you see Minneapolis.

"how do you see Minneapolis." is meant to be an ongoing photo collaboration with people all over the world who are basically strangers.

mainly out of boredom and the isolation of winter and working from home i thought up the idea while selling a bunch of my stuff on ebay.

i took one of my drawings of the Minneapolis cityscape and made a postcard out of it. this is the same image for a while i had pasted up on several street lightposts in my neighborhood.

i used the postcard to write little thank you notes to the people who bought things from me, mainly books and CD's. i been collecting music for years and had amassed far too much then i could ever listen to or wanted. i was on a new kick to not only do my own work from home but to also purge most of my possessions.

in each package going out to my buyers i would also send a small note asking for each person to photograph themselves with my postcard and email it to me if possible. i figured with the rising popularity of digital camers and such it would be easy to do.

at this point i have sent out about 300 and have gotten back 30 or so.

one guy was really into it and took pictures of his whole family, kids, grandparents and all. he and i still correspond and he recently sent me some Ozomatli bootlegs he had gotten.(he bought one of their CD's from me)

it had been a while since i had started and it seemed like no one was into the idea. then Jim Knapp(2nd row from the bottom, two over from the left) from Auburn, Washington was the first one to participate. it was like receiving a note in a bottle on a desert island.

this was the dead of winter. i wasn't working a regular job and barely left my house except for my post office runs a couple of times a week. i swear i was getting "the shining"!

slowly the emails with attached photos would arrive. often around the same time then nothing for weeks. often people would email me asking what it was all about and wish me luck or would say they would eventually send something and never would.

i didn't keep track of what it was the people had gotten from me. i was sending out dozens of packages a day. i figured if they reminded me then fine, but i decided it wasn't important.

in one shot you can see Jan Van den Ouwelant from the Netherlands holding the Kenny Burrell CD he bought from me.


basically, i wanted to take the idea of some grafitti artists and emulate the concept in my own way.

the graffiti artist takes their "art" and puts it everywhere for people to see. or so that they can see their "art" wherever they go. often then the interpretation of tags, stickers, stencils or throw-ups become part of the dialogue, often negative, the public then has with the "artist".

a recent example of this is Shepard Fairey and his "Obey Giant" images.

i had been doing my own tags for a while but wasn't really aggressive about it. i felt pretty lame about what i was doing didn't have the bravado to do publically what i really wanted to do anyway. and unless something is really thought out i would argue against graffiti in general. though i would say when it is well done, i am a big fan and always look forward to new stuff when i see it.

but i wanted to reach farther out. i wanted my image to be dispersed in a similar manner, in this case via technology, and then returned and given back through the "eye" or interpretation of my collaborators.

when i started i hadn't really thought out the whole concept but was working with what i had and figured that eventually when enough images were collected i would be able to better solidify what i was trying to do. to be in keeping with the graffiti tradition the image of the city or "street" would be used.

i wanted to encompass the graffiti phenomenon in something that in the end i would have control over as my image is the constant within in each submission and i would be able to manipulate them as well.

with the help of my graphic artist friend, Liz, i mounted the images and assembled them for display for the first time this past summer at Vera's in Minneapolis.

one of the participants offered to have me out to his college in Idaho to display it there but we weren't able to work it out.

i hope to keep going this next year and watch the "photo mosaic" as i call it grow.


oh, before i forget. happy birthday Dad!
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