Socialization is the process in which someone internalizes the ideologies and values of a community or society. This ongoing process begins at birth and is repeated throughout life. It is ubiquitous among all people and is also a major factor in maintaining social continuity. It is not only essential to how we function in the world, but also fundamental to how we make sense of our worlds. A force generated by ones environment and the people around them, socialization directly and indirectly teaches us morals and appropriate social behavior. It tells us what masculine and feminine are and shows us how to be boys and girls. It not only influences how we construct ourselves, but how we perceive others. Socialization teaches us aesthetics, like which skin color is more beautiful, e.g. tanning, skin whitening, colorism and much much more. In many ways socialization is the water that the fish do not see. Aware or not, you and I were/are socialized into who we are. And as cultures are distinct, so to would we be if socialized in another culture or community. Now, how are we socialized? What are the mediums and avenues of socialization?
Language is crucial for socialization no matter the culture or community. Though not determinant of
ideology, language certainly is the most prevalent medium for socialization. Therefore the identity-forming push
and pull between self and ones communities for humans is manifested through verbal exchange and
conversations. In other words, we are sculpted by speech. Now, which conversations are the most impactful?
We may quickly think about our parents, teachers or close friends.
It is not just mom and dad and other major figures in ones lives that form us, but those periphery conversations with the mailman or gas station clerk as well. Upon realizing this, I began to conceive of socialization as a ubiquitous system of conversations between all kinds of people. After further reduction, I arrived to disembodied mouths; Mouths through which all of this formative exchange occurs; Mouths of unique individuals. I began creating a network of intertwining mouths. Later on in the play of this network, I stumbled on the suggestion of a force every time three mouths met. In a grid this resulted in the mouth of the face above, being an eye of the face below someone else. In that moment I found a grotesque poetic that seemed to epitomize socialization; the language that we hear determines our perspective.
The inspiration to fuse mouthes onto peaches may have had multiple triggers. Perhaps it was in the language, you are such a peach, or in the culture, the magical peach orchards in China; or maybe it was because of their fuzzy unique skins and asses. Regardless, in my mind, mouthed peaches became “single-celled” humans. The mouths could serve as component to uniquely individuate the peaches, while the relatively simple shape of the peaches facilitated their insertion into more complex scenario’s and metaphors. As objects that could be easily imagined in rendered space, the peach allowed me to move away from the flatness of the grid. Moreover, considering more the formative impact of conversation and social networks on identity, I began to consider portraiture in the context of socialization; heads were reimagined as piles or networks of peaches, amalgamations of accumulated disparate social exchanges. As I continue with the peaches the more acute their personalities become, the more their ecology emerges and their world expands; sparrows, butterflies, bees, landscapes. My practice often divides and branches into specific methods and motifs. Within my investigations with the peach there is a specific body of artworks that I refer to as tri-heads. Tri-Heads are primarily flat works that are three overlaid portrait outlines (two profiles and one frontal) that form a Venn-diagram-like relationship. More often than not the works incorporate six mouthed peaches; the three peaches above function as “eyes” and three peaches below as mouths. Each head includes a landscape of varying time of day and geo-locations. For me, these works are a point of human existence that collapse space and time and speak to the heighten awareness of the simultaneity of our global co-existence.