I’ve always been interested in portraits. It is a tangible way for an artist to show how they perceive another person, how that person is in their eyes. When I began drawing I always drew people, because it was a way to filter another person through my own structures of thought and feeling.
This mapping project has got me thinking of filtering in a new way. My time here in Siena is the first time I’ve been outside of America, and my first extended period out of Massachusetts. When I first arrived I noticed that I was constantly comparing Italy to Boston, looking for commonalities and differences that could fit into neat little categories. I felt very distanced from the space I was actually occupying, because the reality of it did not match the reality I was constructing in my mind.
As the time passed, I noticed that things I had initially put into the “differences” category were becoming more comfortable than the things put in the “similarities” column. Or rather, I could no longer tell the two apart. My process of filtering was actually effecting the reality I was trying to perceive, forcing me to identify or distance myself from certain aspects of life in Siena, or on a bigger scale, life in Europe. By relating familiar objects and routines here to those of mine back home, I could not see life here clearly. My actions seem to have no consequences, the things I see seem to belong to some dream world, and my habits and thought patterns that I filter this world through are a constant reminder of how strange this reality is.
Somehow I have found a parallel thread between filtering people while drawing portraits to filtering a place through familiar objects. I intend to use this connection to create nontraditional portraits of simple objects through which I have filtered my abroad experience.
That said, I have certainly learned a lot in my attempt to articulate the filters and maps of different places and times. Moreover, I have gone beyond learning into the realm of simply doing, which I trust will bring me back to learning once again.
For now though, I want to keep these pieces as a reminder of how time and place form their own maps, map me, and provide maps for memory and communication.