The Homeless Memorial examines issues surrounding homelessness.
Please click on The Homeless Memorial Statement above for a more detailed text.
The Homeless Memorial is a mixed media installation project begun as a response to a trolley tour of the monuments and memorials of Washington, DC, replete with an amazing view of the endemic homeless population. The installation re-enacts the eleven stops along an existing trolley route of the DC monuments while proposing a twelfth stop: The Homeless Memorial.
Flattened refrigerator boxes proved to be a versatile substructure for assembling the eleven trolley stop environments. The boxes house the re-created monuments, memorials, and museums while contextual imagery is derived from piecing together crayon rubbings, drawings, and painting, infused with photographs, postcards, and snippets of the trolley map.
Further contributing to the aesthetic of the series, eleven homeless figures were born of the scrappiness of collagraph plates, printed on bits and pieces of papers and plastic bags, and cut from the extraneous material to roam free among the monuments. One new figure is introduced at each trolley stop: Ricky stands alone at Trolley Stop 1: Union Station. Hector enters the scene at Trolley Stop 2: The Capitol, and so on, until the crowded conditions at the eleventh stop push them out of the picture plane and into their own sculptural space: The Homeless Memorial. The collagraph figures for The Homeless Memorial will be individually printed on aluminum, cut and arranged as a freestanding unit. The sculpture itself will be mounted on wheels affording greater flexibility in its positioning and subsequent re-positioning; a condition the homeless constantly endure.
For almost 4 years I have been focusing on this strongly envisioned series, the plight of the homeless, and the culture that inflames yet tries to hide it. I have been devoting studio time to 'Incubation Days' where character studies are born. The studies are experimental, and have provided a wealth of possibilities for the large-scale 'formal' work. The collagraph plate figures have an amazing flexibility and allow me to print on papers or plastics; remnants left over from previous projects or otherwise recycled materials collected specifically for this project. Arranging the characters in environmental scenarios, reminiscent of diorama projects from grade school years has had a significant impact on the work. They provide a type of home, a shelter, while also alluding to the isolation experienced through homelessness.
Although I had started naming the characters pretty early on while drawing them or building the collagraph plates, it wasn't until I started printing them and putting them into their own worlds, out of the collective, that their individuality really surfaced. Daniel, Hector, Greta, and Bernice became people less ostracized. This recognition has been the hallmark of the project...the importance of regarding the homeless as individuals. Homeless is not Nameless.