2020, A Year In Review

Headlines (January 5 - 11, 2020), 22 by 23 inches, acrylic, graphite and image transfers on canvas, 2020
Headlines (January 5 – 11, 2020), 22 by 23 inches, acrylic, graphite and image transfers on canvas, 2020

If 2019 went out like a lamb, 2020 came in like a ferocious fire breathing Chimera. At this point many problems were already facing our society and the world on many different levels. With sea levels rising, wildfires in the West, and hurricanes all over the globe, climate change was clearly destroying human and animal habitat. Political unease racked the country and divisions between factions of well meaning citizens were more and more apparent. In addition, there was already a growing discrepancy between the rich and poor in this country. However, little did we know that the worst was yet to come.

Headlines (January 12 - 18, 2020), 22 by 23 inches, acrylic, graphite and image transfers on canvas, 2020
Headlines (January 12 – 18, 2020), 22 by 23 inches, acrylic, graphite and image transfers on canvas, 2020

I set out to document the news and events of the year through art. After all, art is the evidence of history, and documenting our current history from a truthful point of view is critical. Listening intently to news headlines and reporting every day, I dove headfirst into my work. Compiling lists of headlines, I took down what was going on around us from different sources, from the main stream media to independent investigation based outlets. I searched and viewed thousands of images, selecting only the most descriptive, emotional, or sensational. Paring down the main stories to a few basic headlines, for each painting, I sorted through stories, prioritizing and vetting the information that I had gathered.  

Headlines (February 2 - 8, 2020), 22 by 23 inches, acrylic charcoal, graphite and image transfers on canvas, 2020
Headlines (February 2 – 8, 2020), 22 by 23 inches, acrylic charcoal, graphite and image transfers on canvas, 2020

Each painting in the Newscycles Series was carefully composed with images and type. The basic image size and color was selected for its similarity to an actual newspaper. All fonts are in Georgia, the selected font of the New York Times. My process for this work has evolved and now contains two different types of image transfers. The images I use are painstakingly hand colored for dramatic effect. All of these different elements are carefully layered together with acrylic paint, transparent, medium, graphite and charcoal.

Portrait of Greta Thunberg
Portrait of Greta Thunberg, 24 by 26 inches, acrylic, charcoal and images transfers on canvas, 2020

The close of one year and the beginning of a new one always marks a time to step back from the years’ events and reflect. From the impeachment of the President to the assassination of General Qassem Suleimani many occurrences have made an impression on us. We endured the worst year for wildfires ever recorded, exacerbated by climate change and the continuing elections divided the country but eventually led to a new president elect.

The Shooting of Jacob Blake (Headlines August 23-29, 2020), 22 by 23 inches, acrylic, charcoal, graphite and image transfers on canvas, 2020
The Shooting of Jacob Blake (Headlines August 23-29, 2020), 22 by 23 inches, acrylic, charcoal, graphite and image transfers on canvas, 2020

For many people, the tragic spread of Coronavirus has been the most notable and life altering event of the year. With lightening speed it infected more than 78.2 million people across the globe and claimed the lives of more than 1.7 million people.

However, the most revolutionary changes the year has brought, are the protests in support of Black Lives Matter. The killing of George Floyd sparked an ongoing challenge to the systemic repression of Black and Brown individuals and communities. Our society has been pushed past the breaking point and now is the time for change. 

Say Their Names, 16 by 12 inches, acrylic and paper collage on canvas, 2020 (contains names of Black People killed by police 2017-2020)
Say Their Names, 16 by 12 inches, acrylic and paper collage on canvas, 2020 (contains names of Black People killed by police 2017-2020)

I could not ignore this activity and painted Say Their Names to bring more understanding to the Black Lives Matter movement. As I transcribed all the names of Black people killed by police I imagined what the person might have been like and what their loved ones are feeling. I am still astounded and heartbroken by the shear number of Black people who were killed by police.

Our history is convoluted, intertwined and layered much like the components of my paintings. While 2020 is coming to a close, the story is not over. As our history continues, I still have a large part of 2020 to continue documenting as well as completing many other projects which disclose the truth that is often avoided by main stream media sources.