“All In A Day’s Work” is a collection of photographs created in a corporate liminal space from my childhood. My work explores the tension and time between being a child with hopes and dreams and how that manifests in a capitalistic society later in adult life. The space belongs to the firm my father has worked for during the last 40 years of his life and now lays vacant and empty since 2012. What was once an office building filled with break rooms and long fluorescent corridors is now completely deserted. I remember visiting my dad often as a child and the feeling of how foreign and strange the “adult business world” was, which I must admit feels just as strange now as it did then.
When I was younger, I absolutely loved walking among the suits and carrying my own badge, it felt like everyone was playing a game of dress up that I just couldn’t understand yet. It was a different world, different from home and school, it was what I understood was waiting for me on the other side of growing up. I would think to myself: “This is Real Life”. Now that I am older, I know it is not - at least for me.
In the Summer of 2021 during the middle of Covid, I started exploring themes of capitalism and childhood nostalgia through my own experience. Being externally bound by bills and fees of adult life yet internally free with the imagination and hope that is carried with us from adolescence. The disconnect that happens from being a child full of wonder with an open heart to then growing into a world of professionalism, uniform, guidelines and restrictions for efficient productivity. Sacrificing play for profit, not necessarily because we want to but because we have to. The rush from what life could be to what it has to be in order to pay the bills and keep the lights on.
I have never resonated with the “American Dream” narrative that is fed to us as soon as we can answer the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. The American Dream is a sacrifice, as I am exercising now; of time and energy and in the long run - life. If you give us your hard work: you will reap the reward, the great trick of the modern rat race. This is not to say that those who work hard are blind or should feel separate from their hard work. Rather in my experience, the ever flowing curiosity I have for the world around me has always been made to feel unimportant compared to whatever credentials I may have earned in the work field. I think there is space for both and that is what I am trying to create as an artist. “What is your dream job?” I do not dream of work, I do not dream of deadlines and missed family holidays. I dream of safe environments that foster real hope and community. I dream of exploration of each other’s existence and creating space for emotional understanding. I dream of loved ones and strangers alike being stripped away from this chase of survival so that we may truly understand each other. That we may have the time and energy to step away from work and step up for each other. I dream of turning spaces that rob us of the human experience into a place for art and understanding, for a new perspective.
The photographs in this series were taken by my good friend and creative colleague, Chase Hart, and assisted by my dad, Steve. This collection is a debut effort to employ my imagination as a visual artist and create a physical essence of my memories for you to explore freely. I feel blessed to present a body of work that expresses a great belief that I feel must be protected; you are more than just the work you do, you are enough just as you are. A notion that seems silly in a society running off of stimulants and success stories, off of entrepreneurs and students and artists all trying to do the same thing, survive. I believe we are better off as friends than competitors. I believe there should be value placed on both play and productivity. I believe in you and the dream that lives inside your chest.