30 of the 160 individual Portraits that are painted on two sides.

These installation shots reveal two sides of the same paintings, first the fronts, then the backs. They were installed in the main structure so viewers could access either side dependent upon the their position relative to the main stage. Viewers could stand at the opening of the stage for an interior view, and view the “backs” of the paintings. The portrait “back” is more simplistic and mask-like. This somewhat ominous, unfamiliar view speaks to the hidden identity of agri workers. Viewers can also view the portrait “fronts” from the exterior of the main stage.  From this view point the portraits take on the qualities of a community – their gaze meeting onlooking members of the community. The duration of time that I spent painting these individuals extended well beyond the initial snapshot. The rendering process allowed me, one who benefits from their labors, to gain a certain familiarity with each individual.

The front and back of a portrait as it hangs set into the textile.

Front and back view of one of the two sided portrait paintings.

The outside view of the sculpture with portraits.

A painted garden of cultivated and native plants of Visalia.

We were pleased with the receptiveness of the Visalia community. Perishable remains were taken home by the public and donated to local shelters.

Produce donated by local growers are coated with gold by members of the public who, then, place them into the collective sculpture.

Members of the public enjoyed contributing to the golden centerpiece. Produce bears often elaborate individual drawings, gold leafing or both.

The Garden Street Plaza Downtown Visalia.  The site for installation of the project, as well as a site for local artists to present their work to the public throughout Saturday.  We determined the location of the structure based on visibility and it’s proximity to the other events taking place throughout the festival, including the “waiter’s race”.

College of Sequoias art student, Nicole Delima, helping us install the main stage. Lots of great volunteers and participants, all of whom made unique contributions to the event.

The roof in progress on the studio floor. The transparency of the fabric will allow us to see the projects surroundings through a veil of gold.

The table top painting in-progress of cultivated and native plants of Visalia.

A couple more examples of the portraits that will be a part of the project during the Taste the Arts festival from the 9th-11th of September, Downtown Visalia.

The steel skeleton fits on Duane’s pick up. I followed him in my hatch back all the way the North Dakota so I could start teaching. This way, we can continue working on the project together there. Lots of curious onlookers for this three day drive North.

In Reno our cargo was presumed to be a part of Burning Man as participants were also stopped there on their exodus. In Montana we liked how another white truck was carrying organic cargo of similar appearance.

Join us in gold leafing the project centerpiece September 9th-11th at Garden Street Plaza, downtown Visalia

We are excited about the participatory component of the project. Caroline Koontzs MJ Eastes- with Arts Visalia and the consortium has been working hard with growers to find a variety of regional fruits and vegetables to be gifted to the community project’s centerpiece. We have constructed a tiered platform to support the produce which will be gold leafed on site by festival visitors and ourselves. Not to worry! The process isn’t too challenging, but may not be ideal for children. That is o.k. though, because we need their young talent as well to make the project a success. Children of Visalia and surrounding areas are invited to draw additional portraits, or decorate citrus. We envision the end result to be an eye full of glittering delight.