Something really new happened for me this month. Someone posted a photoset of At Rest pictures on Tumblr, and in two weeks it’s received almost 20,000 notes.
I don’t really use Tumblr, so I kind of had to learn what it is about pretty quickly to understand what was happening. I learned some really interesting stuff in the notes I went through and read. I hadn’t spent a whole lot of time thinking about At Rest since its completion at the end of last year (I pretty quickly began a new project), and while I was working on the pictures in my thesis class, I wasn’t receiving a ton of feedback, to be honest. It was super cool to read people saying that building memorials around dead animals was something they did as a child or still do all the time or wanted to do or commit to start doing since they came across the pictures. There were a lot of generally positive, inspired, contemplative comments, “this is so beautiful,” “these really affect me,” that were of course nice to read. And there were negative comments, offended comments, upset comments, and lots of nonsensical comments. I was for some reason surprised by the amount of senseless, ignorant people making comments that were so far off from what they were looking at and reading (as, whether this is a good or bad thing, a bit of the project’s statement typically went along with the reblog, and I found that most people reacted so strongly simply due to the statement and not so much the imagery, which is why I generally hate artist statements). For example, there were comments about “Americans eating dead things all the time,” whether or not I am vegan, “actual people being killed and ignored every day,” my intention being to “deface people’s beliefs,” and generally just “you are wrong,” “this is wrong” (as in incorrect, not immoral), which I thought was really interesting!
The whole thing really made me excited for the project again. Like, a few people were shocked that owls get hit by cars (SO MANY large birds of prey on the side of the road in Idaho and the Pacific Northwest (and someone somehow thought that I was the one hitting the animals with my car?)), some people referred to the coyote as a wolf (I think maybe a lot of people don’t really know the difference between the two animals and their population status in North America), there were comments about the in-tact quality of the bodies (that’s a big part of the project! I found five times more animals I couldn’t use because they were crushed)–all of it just made me want to talk about this work some more! It made me excited that this is something I made.
A couple of my favorites:
Look at this guy’s blog! There were a few comments about The Hunger Games. I remember being pretty surprised when I saw that part in the movie this summer.
(For the record, these images were made between March and November of 2011, before The Hunger Games movie came out in theaters. A simple poke around my website’s Home page or News page, this blog, my personal blog, or my Tumblr would assure you; while this work had many inspirations, neither the book (which I have admittedly not read) nor the movie played a part in its making.)
I do not see the relationship to Wes Anderson at all. But isn’t this just something people say when they want to call someone a hipster? I kind of love that making artwork makes you a hipster. Or is it just making artwork about animals? Dead animals? Not sure, but I think it’s pretty funny. This is from PetaPixel.
Anyway, what a cool experience! Baltic had nearly 10,000 pageloads this month, and since I started tracking stats (which I believe was around this time in 2009), it’s received 31,500. So that’s awesome!