Things have been busy in the new place in L.A. I just finished a project of 50 drawings of high school class photos from a 1960 yearbook. I decided to do the project for a few reasons. I have always loved the styles from then, and that coupled with yearbooks in general have always fascinated me. There is so much about it that is unique and interesting. There aren't a lot of careers or times later in life where everyone gets their portrait taken. Or an instance where everyone's presence at an institution, company, or even social circle is chronicled in a book. A book where people write what they think of each other in it, no less. I have always wondered why businesses don't do that. They're sentimental and nostalgic, and downright flippin' cool. Just think- if you had every year of your life documented in a book along with all the of the people who were in your life at that time, I mean...really? How crazy would that be?!
It's made more interesting by the fact that it's that particular slice of life. High school. When everyone is at their most awkward and trying their hardest with their appearance (at least with most people, that would be the case), the school goes and takes their picture. And prints it in a book that everyone gets a copy of!
A small secret about me is that I used to work (briefly) as a school photographer. The kids have just about 20 seconds to pose before whatever expression they chose to make is frozen in time and saved for everyone to see. There are the things that the photographer is instructed to do; square a boys shoulders so they look more manly, tilt a girls shoulder away from the camera so that they look more feminine, move their head, tell them to smile, etc. I always found it funny how when someone gives you their "picture face" (usually a smile), and then proceeds to follow all the instructions to move, tilt, etc- that they get this frozen, odd, awkward expression on their face that absolutely no one ever makes ever in life. Those pictures are my all-time faves. And the good news is that it didn't just happen to me and the kids in my school. As I pick up these vintage yearbooks, I'm finding that they're loaded with those goofy expressions.
I wanted to further record these faces, these captured instances of odd expressions, crooked eyebrows, dorky cool glasses and youth. I feel like we are so inundated with images of physical perfection (particularly here in L.A.) and fixing everything that's physically wrong with yourself, that these images feel refreshing and charming. I look at these pictures-these kitschy, dated, odd images- and see beautifully interesting people. There are no pictures of people this interesting in magazines. They're hiding their braces and glasses and dated hairdos in dusty books on shelves and in boxes in attics. And now, in my drawings.