This is a wall art installation that I created to demonstrate my newly minted skills with using my CNC router. It is a translation of a graphic design concept that I created to illustrate an idea. Visually displaying how Rochester, NY has two nicknames. The double meaning is the divide of one city into two parts. I have included full written statement below the images.
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This project went through a complete design process. From drawings, to prototypes, then into full production. These images are of the CNC Milling process and the painting of the wall.
ARTIST STATEMENT FOR FLOUR CITY | FLOWER CITY
Sometimes when you look back at the history, the facts that are revealed are familiar, maybe even expected. It may be that the filter used to collect them sort out the ones you want to see. They become the ones that support your viewpoint. I would call it “cherry picking” the good ones that will be used to prove ones point. Happens all the time in today’s media. The curious fact is that the deeper you look at Rochester’s past, there seems to be a reoccurring case of “two sides”. Many cases of “us verses them” appear, but, you always get to choose your side. All the way back to Rochesterville when the Episcopalians fought with the Presbyterians for power rights on High Falls.
The split of one city still lingers today. It is gently acknowledged but never engaged in civilly in public forums. The ongoing violence and challenges in our city schools get criticized from an unengaged public. These are debilitating and chronic problems facing every one of Rochester’s citizens. If you want to feel extreme disbelief in our fellow Rochesterians, follow the comments on the popular news outlets. The apathy of those casting stones from the safety of their armchairs, hidden behind computer screen truly scares me. So much ignorance displayed and personal energy is spent denigrating city officials and those in poverty, the other side of Rochester. Pointing the finger at their neighbors (You & Me) to make it all better for them. I continually question how does one change a culture of ridicule and apathy. Refocus this vitriol and direct it into positive feelings of creating genuine change through action in the one city that we all belong to and call home. We are the population and we have the power to make this city into a great place to live for all of our neighbors.
The choice of Flower City/Flour City was obvious and ironic. We have one city, Rochester with two nicknames. When spoken out loud the words sound exactly the same. Making it indistinguishable until you project your personal perception on to it. Identifying which one you are talking about. The stories behind each Flower/Flour are both equally important to the development and success of our hometown. I’ve brought them together in this exhibition with equal treatment and balance. Illustrating that together they are important to make one piece.
The installation consists of equal number of parts. Manufactured using both handmade and digital techniques to make one whole visual presentation. The pieces are carved from plywood, signifying the multiple layers of our cities citizens. Each is similar, yet, different. They are an imperfect repetition of individuals gathered on both sides. The process of making this piece can be thought of as a metaphor for the types of thinking and techniques needed to make our city better. It also demonstrates that applying a committed individual effort can transform different parts with multiple layers and make them work together.
I have commenced on a body of work, which I call my “civic pride campaign”. Taking basic messages and shapes related to the city of Rochester and creating a series of posters and now objects that are economical and interesting enough for people to live with in their homes or at their work places. By creating these works, I intend to offer an object to become a focal point that ties together a daily positive reflection with their city. Seeing this work daily, even for an instance creates a repetition that reinforces a bond with Rochester. Not just the neighborhood or side of town where they live, but with the entire city. Creating a strong association for a true sense of place. The more you love your home, the harder it becomes to watch it fail.
So, buy a print or an object for yourself and for your friends to begin the change of the perception of our hometown.