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We’re Still Alive, 2023 (WSA23)


Houseplants, years collected. Anthropocene. Circles and cycles. Only a fraction photographed, but we’re all still alive.


In this small project, each photograph was translated into a graphic illustration with the concept of breaking down the context of controlling nature inside a house into an immortal or frozen, digital or physical image – a slice of life in which the observer doesn’t know has powered through. Ultimately, even though there is a dark side and grief involved in owning and domesticating a plant that one thinks won’t live forever, I tried to keep optimistic in that our mortality doesn’t always affect what we think we keep alive, especially based on resilience. Even in a square, circles don’t have boundaries and neither should we.


What is visually produced, as well as just having houseplants, is partly aesthetic and that's part of art and design. Just six colors. But I want to share that beauty along with a geometric composition on brand with Colón Creative Co. Like my last project, This New Light, 2023, stripping down the background and focusing on what might be interpreted as an object is what sheds a new perception that allows the observer to create their own story. Hopefully, the end product can be used in a multitude of ways – whether keeping it alive or not. But one shouldn't worry about taking anything as serious or personal as it may seem.


Though this project partly stems from wanting to honor the fact that these plants endure living with not only cats, but us as ignorant beings, I want to reveal that most of those photographed were mostly in better shape than some of those that weren’t. In that sense, I may be trying to feel less guilty. My inspiration to showcase pieces of life might seem unlimited, but at least the observer can know that there is matter behind what’s composed. What I’ve written below can be considered an attempt at paraphrasing my initial draft for the inanimate, evolving concept of We’re Still Alive, 2023.

Springtime – outdoor allergies, killing. I don’t know what is safe inside. Gradually, quickly surrounded by more life. Cedar outside my window, resilience. Hugging the hickory, survived. Heavy weight, winter. Green dabs, layered – dead, broken, bloomed. Power lines, sagged. Swamp, swarmed. Inside? The fallen hasn’t cut the electricity. The window illuminates. Light energy, carbon dioxide, water. Impact isn’t defined by my perception of dimension. Resilience, power – who and what has it?


Abstractions, observer inquires – who is we? Optimism? Intuition, relationships over science. Muse, health, reward. Innate, adoption, no purchase. Ownership? Would they intuitively adapt? How much control? Mortality. Adoptions, felines, foliage cravings, resilient household. Who and what is to blame? Who and what are safer? Danger is inside and out. No temperate season change, cedar and hickory, cycle in keeping a plant inside. Cycle of grief. Houseplant, life – walls shouldn't define limitations.


Disposable inside, not outside. With integrity, a photo breaks down into a symbol. Process, abstraction, realism, representation. Observer, unaware, where and what was powered. Moment, frozen. Past and future disregarded. Images visualized, objects believed. Plants housed, unfavored conditions. Photograph, no story – political thinking, intent? Vanity, aesthetic, trend. Domestication strived to conquer. Still alive, barely hanging. Not all survive winter. Who and what, how much longer?


Gnawed, browned, rotted – beautiful. Upright with pride – celebration. Occupants of an interior space, plants aren’t inanimate. No tripod, quick composition, accurate perspective, context. Illustrating a story of resilience. Power, life, death. Three images, aesthetic. Observer’s imagination – beyond digital. Beyond artist’s story. Breaking down everyday surroundings into an artifact. Beyond perishable. Dark side – not horticulture. Plants aren’t mine – I’m not the only one with power. Hanging on to hope. Is image immortal? What we believe we keep alive can stay alive without us?

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