Lorena, Week 4: New Artist Statement

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My mom used to tell me to go play outside. I spent most of my childhood outside the house, I would come home just after dark without being asked of any questions of where I had been. What I usually did during those hours, depended of how desperate I was of companionship. The usual would be just wondering around talking to myself. If this wasn't enough, I would hang out with the older lady that lived at the house at the corner of the neighborhood. She would let me hang out, as long as I didn't ask too many questions. I would usually ask too many questions, yet I figured she didn't mind because she would always let me in when I knocked on her door.

When I was about 9, I became friends with a single man in the neighborhood. He was about 40 and lived with his mom. He would tell me that his mom needed his care. He wasn't just friends with me, but all of the kids from the neighborhood liked him. I would lie down on the floor to listen to his stories. He didn't wear underwear under his running shorts, so he was the first man that exposed himself to me. One weekend, he left for a trip to Guatemala. He brought me a jade necklace with tiny stones, and a heart in the center of it. My mother saw me wearing this, and asked me where I had got this. I told him it was a gift from him. She made me return it and asked me to never talk to him again. Crying, I walked to his house and gave the necklace back. I told him I was not allowed to come to his house anymore.

I was never told not to talk to strangers. I grew up with no fear of the unknown. I figured people were just as interested in me as I was interested in them. As I grew up, I realized this wasn't always the case. People usually walk around indifferent of others' people existence. We walk around like ants in the same direction; but even ants use their pheromones, sound and touch to communicate with each other.

This same attitude moved to my art practice. But this time, I had a camera to excuse my curiosity. The longing to understand what I'm incapable of understanding with my bare eyes was being satisfied with every photograph I took. I'm not interested in voyeurism; I don't get anything if our eyes can't lock, if one of us doesn't loose more than the other. My work is about asking my subjects more than they can give me. Relatively, I give myself to them if they ask for it. Therefore, by either approaching strangers in the street, inviting myself to my neighbors' homes, or asking strangers to let me spend the night with them, I record my genuine longing to establish some kind of connection.

This similar curiosity applies to relationships that should be natural and effortless, yet these are the most difficult to delve into. Consequently, by asking my mother to write down what she remembers of a specific childhood photograph, and asking myself to do the same, or by photographing her body in comparison to my body. It is my attempt to understand years of aching for her, to piece a childhood that we did not share together.

My interest in human interactions and intimacy is inherent to my artistic practice. I frequently ask the importance of my work in the bigger scheme of things. How is it changing the world? What is my role as an artist? Isn't there hunger? Global warming? Wars?! But I don't have the answers to those problems. We tend to relate to each other by the things we share in common. We all had a mother in one point or another.


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