Growing up in Chicago, my family and I spent our weekends camping in places like Wisconsin Dells and the Black Hills in South Dakota. For my parents, it was an escape from city life. For my brother and me, it was a lot of boring car rides. For miles the only thing to break the monotony of the Midwest landscape was billboards, which I eventually used as signals of how close we were to home.
This experience planted the germ of the idea that lead to the work in Monoliths. I hope this work will lead others to reassess the seemingly banal objects in the world around them and consider the significance these objects have on memory, identity, and sense of place.
To produce the work, I photographed decaying billboards I encountered during my travels across the Southeast between 2017-2018. I then used Photoshop to flatten the perspective of the images, remove extraneous details, and split the color channels into separate CMYK layers. After drafting corresponding grids over the image in the computer and onto 6-ply museum board, the image is then translated by hand using pen + ink and charcoal. As the grid is filled with details, the image emerges, inch by inch, through individual layers of cyan, yellow, magenta and black ink. This process was informed by my experience as a printmaker and references the materials used in billboard production.