Friday, April 24, 2009

Gift of Life: Decision Portrait Series

(Above: Gift of Life, Decision Portrait Series by South Carolina fiber artist Susan Lenz. Xylene photo transfer on tea-stained muslin. Hand beading and embroidery. Stitched words: She saw her mother's drivers license and said, "If anything ever happens to me, I want to be an organ donor too"; After a terrible car crash, her parents honored her decision; Seven lives...were Saved. 25" x 35", unframed. 31" x 41", framed. Click on image to enlarge.)

Last night was Artista Vista, the annual spring art gallery crawl in Columbia, South Carolina. The weather was picture perfect and the crowds were large. Three pieces from my Decision Portrait Series hung in the main gallery:
Overcoming Childhood Domestic Abuse, Kristine
On Fighting Ovarian Cancer
(I will be meeting Linda in Rocky Mount, NC this Sunday!)
On Making Decisions, Learning Disabled.

Along the large hallway, near the rear door and directly across from the reception table of finger food, hung:
From Preaching to Teaching
(Scroll down to see the beautiful college coed who shared herself for this piece. She's traveling back to Tajikistan for a summer vacation!)
Someone Else's Miracle (Scroll down to see the amazing lady who shared her story and an old photo of herself as a teenager for this piece!)
Overcoming Domestic Abuse
Terms of Marriage
(Scroll down to see three of the four members of this great family....the baby was in her pram! They've also honored me by both purchasing the piece and allowing me to use it for future exhibitions! Thank YOU!)
Dealing with Alzheimer's (which was also pictured in the local, free newspaper!)

Yet, one more piece was available for those wandering through the studio spaces. It seemed quite appropriate that it was in my studio, unframed, and the one piece I could talk about most (after all, I was generally in my studio too....not in the main gallery or the hallway!) Why appropriate? Well, April is NATION DONATE LIFE MONTH! I created this significant portrait completely during the month of April and was honored to share it with people in my studio while spreading the back of your driver's license as an organ donor or go to Donate Life America and SIGN UP!

I am registered....but I wanted to do more. Honestly, the worst thing that could ever happen is exactly what happened to these parents. So, I created yet another blog...just for this portrait. It also serves as a tutorial for making these works....step by step, with several photos taken by my mentor, Stephen Chesley, of me wearing the "extremely fashionable" ventilation mask while transferring the images. The blog is here.

The first transfer for this piece was too dark...except for the photo of Viridiana. I simply had to trim it, stitch it, and will be sending it to the family. (Above, click on image to enlarge.)

My wonderful "models" who are also my patrons in front of their images/new art acquistion! Thank YOU!

She is undeniably PERFECT to counter the fears and stereotypes of "Foreigner"! What a brave young lady!

Talk about brave! She gladly shared her story, brought her new family, and has always worn that sincere smile!

Okay.....that's me! Posting this was sort of an agreement. I really never stop working...and I was "working" while enjoying the Artista Vista festivities. One of the people I planned to approach as a potential model just happened to come to Artista Vista. I carry extra copies of the standard "model's release" and my camera in my purse. She signed and posed for me.....on the condition that she could take my picture for the blog too! Very soon another Decision Portrait Series piece will be started.....Vintage Clothing Vendor with the stitched words: What Shall I Wear Today? 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s. Thus, we had to discuss outlandish fashion....and I was certainly part of the conversation!


Chris said...

Great post! What do one of these pieces cost?

lindacreates said...

What a touching piece! My heart goes out to this family, yet how brave they were to let others live.
You go girl! Love your outfit and just can't wait to meet you tomorrow. I wish I had had time to come down for the show.

Alexandra said...

This piece was so moving! You have captured exactly the essence though the first image transfer was too dark.
I am very glad for your new exhibition, congratulations and thank you for sharing.

Wanda said...

Such a powerful piece. The family is so strong and .. wow. I just don't know what to say. I'm blown away. Say hello to Linda for me. YOU look great!! ha ha wer outlandish clothes. I don't get that statement! ha ha ha