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This project explores American socio-political fragmentation and the corresponding disunion of individual identity. It also examines moments of transcendent relationship and unexpected similarity between conflicting groups. I am interested in blurring the boundaries between disparate social tribes, and questioning the typical delineations of top and bottom, good and bad. For example, within the mural I draw a parallel between living in a tiny house and inhabiting a trailer home and observe the deep impact of consumerism on yogi and redneck identities. Research into the history of yoga practice and redneck culture in the United States caused me to consider issues of class, power, ideology, and the pursuit of freedom as I created this work.  I used a spectrum of dark and light to represent the full range of human morality within all ideologies and remain ambiguous as to whether dark represents goodness or light evil.

 

To construct the mural, I appropriated historical photography, consumer objects, and film stills. I used realistic depictions of friends and relatives to show the complicated interplay of large-scale culture with personal identity, and to counter the over-simplification found in redneck and yogi caricatures. I wish to point out the multiple and conflicting influences that form up an American human, and how dividing ourselves into camps and defining ourselves by stereotypes is counterproductive and funny. Just because one is a redneck, does not mean one cannot be a yogi. In fact, if we look at our own histories and beliefs, most of encompass a little of both. I hope this project erodes the barrier between art and life and makes clear that art rises above no aspect of culture. The beer guzzling, working class redneck and the wee-woo, meditation-obsessed yogi belong in the realm of fine art just as much as any of us. 

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