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Volume Three (2019)

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Book, 2019. 96-pages, full color. 7.75 x 10.75 inches.
Edition of 100 printed by Conveyor.

2016. I notice a considerable decline in the amount of self-portraits I'd been making. Since owning my first camera at 17, they'd been my most frequent form of expression. Was it a reaction to the over-abundance of absent-minded selfies that had grown to supersaturate the internet? Or was it a reaction to time, to its ongoing loss and the confidence of youth that it comes with? How much, if at all, does it affect my self-awareness, my consciousness, my life? These are the questions that served as a starting point for this project.

I've always been drawn to books. Even though my initial practice in art was drawing, it was the comic book that inspired me to that point. Though I grew up around Photoshop, graphic design didn't grab my attention until The End of Print by graphic designer David Carson.

In his later monograph Trek, Carson compared his design books to vinyl records. I like that idea; it accurately depicts the significance of the book as a format and not simply a means of publication. This confusion between what a book is and what it can be largely serves as the basis of this work.

For its rather significant cultural history, the book is often ignored in the arts. Stories and ideas are so relevant to our nature that the book is seen only as a utility of their reproduction, overlooking its potential as a whole. Books are more than just their content, though rarely are they thought of–or treated–as such. Like a record and its grooves, the pages of a book have limitless potential.

In my ongoing studies of the book as a format, I've decided to return to the subject of self-portraiture. This work is a study on how we, as people, consider objects and information, through the lenses of self-examination and self-expression.

The format is a replica of the individual and what is–or can be–ever known about someone in our limited scope of interaction, our world of controlled exposure and composed settings. The aesthetic is a reaction to curated feeds, cherry-picked bits of information, out-of-context quotes perpetuated by personal biases toward unknown motivations. This seeks not to contribute to that social swamp but confront it as the redundant and divisive mess it is.

Our concepts of identity, circumstance and reality are fractured—slivers of their true nature, warped through each individual gaze. There is no answer, no whole. The closest we can come to meaning is to attempt understanding the balance of all things.

A disguised man asks a rhetorical question while slowly backing out of the room, holding a water pistol and burning a photograph of the internet. Bags of fake money are tossed between faceless people wearing mirrors, dangling from the ceiling above.