Twenty one 13″ x19″ Digital drawings, (three each) of the seven other artists in The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts inaugural “Studio Residency for New York City Arts Workers”. The drawings are made directly from digital photographs, using algorithms associated with edge detection. Presented during the residency, EFA Project Space, New York City.
The title makes reference to the classic 1954 Japanese film by Akira Kurosawa. Seven Artists acknowledges the difficult place artists occupy in contemporary Western society, where there are veritable armies of professionally trained artists exiting art schools every year, yet there is little hope that most can make a living from their chosen profession. The situation is further complicated by the fact that artists are frequently used by real estate developers to rejuvenate blighted neighborhoods, only to be evicted after the goal has been accomplished.
New York City Arts workers take on an even more difficult task, devoting a portion of their precious time, energy, and networking abilities, to assist artists other than themselves. I wanted to make an artwork about the residency and the fact that there were seven artists (not including myself) created the opportunity for this frame.
Superheros have been in the zeitgeist for some years now, and for this project I asked the artists if I could photograph them in movements suggesting a benevolent fictional character with superhuman powers. All the artists were game, though each interpreted the request in a different way. Some struck classic poses while others simply moved like gymnasts or athletes.
In Seven Samurai the character Kambei notes at the end of the film: “Again we are defeated. The farmers have won. Not us.” Yet with help from the The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, the artists may succeed, and save the world after all.