pen as flare gun

Pen as Flare Gun, water-based ink relief printed on 12 oz cotton canvas. 5’x4′ (2020).

Pen as Flare Gun is a reflection on the base desire to be heard and to be understood, as well as issues of developing my own sense of self and identity. For me, printmaking represents a tool for bridging the gap between my private, internal world and my external self. I want to draw attention to the potency art has when used as nothing more than a means of communication. In this way, I think the title also reflects the way in which I view the role art plays in my life. In this piece, I wanted to convey a sense of urgency in the way the canvas is struggling to contain or hold back the flame-red backdrop. The canvas has been roughly nailed in semi-regular intervals along its perimeter in an attempt to mask the growing fire of the backdrop. 

I owe the completion of this piece entirely to my grandparents, Wayne and Wendy, without whose help this piece would have ended as an unmounted canvas in my room. Thank you to my grandfather for helping me construct the backdrop which frames the canvas as well as for helping me deliver the piece to the show, and thank you to my grandmother for repainting my horrific spray of the backdrop with a much more appropriate shade of red. I am eternally grateful that my grandparents will help me execute these strange projects of mine.

Special thanks also go to Samiyah, whose insistence that I should exhibit my work downtown was the sole initial impetus behind this piece. The idea for this piece was conceived at the house of my good friend over dinner, and was idealized/realized explicitly for Samiyah’s “Heart on the Wall” show. 

how to transport a 20 sq. ft canvas home in the middle of a pandemic without a car:

thank you aaron for helping me carry this thing between MARTA stations

progress pictures: