“There seems to be a disconnect with all this connection” -Gary Tuck
When I travel either abroad or make my weekly visit to the local grocery store, I am intrigued by the absence of face to face interaction between people. The culprit: cellphones. It doesn’t matter where you are nowadays to realize that human communication has become reliant on technology. People stare at their phones when they’re walking, hanging out with friends, waiting for a bus, standing in line etc. Technology has influenced the world in many positive ways; however, I often wonder is technology bringing us closer to people or farther apart? My current body of work titled “Look” explores how the digital age affects personal connections and conversation.
Mobile devices have become an essential part of daily interaction. Text messages are swiftly replacing face-to-face conversations and even phone calls, affecting our social development and our ability to relate to others. There’s something intangibly authentic and valuable about talking with someone in the flesh. This is significant for friends, family, potential employers, and other recurring people that make up our everyday world. That person becomes an important existing human connection, not just someone whose disembodied text voice pops up on your iPad, laptop screen or cell phone. Little by little, Internet and mobile technology seems to be subtly destroying the meaningfulness of interactions we have with others, disconnecting us from the world around us, and leading to an imminent sense of isolation in today’s society. Instead of spending time in person with friends, we just call, text or instant message them.
My drawings depict female figures (nude, semi-nude and/or clothed), sharing one thing in common: using a cellphone. The process of these drawings begins with a model in my studio that I ask to text and take pictures of themselves. With very few suggestions regarding the poses, I use my cellphone to capture poses and moments when that person is enthralled by their cellphone. The model and myself become active participants of this idea of technology taking over a deficiency of real life conversation. After a model session is completed, I select images and draw from my phone. From start to finish, I use my phone to draw from reference images. This reiterates my own dependence on technology through my artmaking. The entire time creating a drawing most of it is invested looking at a screen.
I begin sketching with soft vine charcoal locating general proportion, composition and placement of each figure. Drawings that feature multiple figures use the same model in various positions, carefully overlapped creating a sense of movement and time. After the initial block-in, I switch to soft pastels and build layers of color. Charcoal and pastel are my mediums of choice for this series of work.