Hitch Hiker, Decision Portrait Series. Stitched words: Thumbs Up! Xylene photo transfer on tea-stained muslin. Hand embroidery. Unframed: 25" x 19"; Framed: 31" x 25". Click on image to enlarge.)
Back when I was a child hitch-hiking seemed more prevalent. College kids hitch-hiked through Europe staying in youth hostels. Highway entry ramps always had someone with an out stretched thumb. Hitch-hiking was an ad hoc form of car pooling. The road was open for adventure.
I'm not exactly sure what killed hitch-hiking. The "love fest" mentality of the 60s was somehow replaced by generations of paranoia brought on by feature horror films that cast hitch-hikers as chain saw murderers and those who picked them up as serial rapists.
Hitch Hiker, Decision Portrait Series. Detail.)
I've never hitch-hiked. I've never picked up a hitch hiker. Until embarking on this series, I would have said, "I'll never do either". BUT LOOK AT THIS KID! How can I honestly say, "I'll never pick up a hitch hiker?" Sometimes a person just needs to get to one place from another. This kid did. (His mother nearly fainted when she heard his admission. He added that he was "scared to death".)
Although I'm hardly advocating for this sort of transportation or suggesting that it is "safe", I do hope that people viewing this portrait will think about the decision someone makes when sticking ones thumb out in traffic. They might just need a ride! I'm hoping, too, that people will think about the decision to stereotype others.