Become Like Life Golden
Creativity Explored at Recology
“It’s not a technical thing,
it’s more of a feeling.”
— Joseph “JD” Green
Left: Glenn Peckman Right: Joseph “JD” Green
Written by Weston Teruya
Become Like Life Golden: Creativity Explored at Recology exhibits the work of twenty-seven artists who created artwork through a residency collaboration between Recology and Creativity Explored. Recology opened the facility, resources, and artistic commission to a wide group of developmentally disabled artists through the support of both organizations. Resident artists worked with Creativity Explored teaching artists that gathered materials from the Public Reuse and Recycling Area specific to each artists’ interests and approaches to making. Teaching artists then worked closely with residents as advisors and collaborators to build toward the final exhibition.
“I feel like we’re surrogate listeners. We’re listening to the dump for the artist, listening to the trash that comes in. We’re trying to coordinate between the artist and what we know of their interests and tastes and listening to the dump for things that fit with that.”
— Leeza Doreian, Teaching Artist
Featured resident artist Samedi Djeimguero presents a series of luscious, pop-colored three- and two-dimensional paintings, and a video created in collaboration with teaching artist Lacey Johnson, that imagine a hopeful world of abundance and connection, populated with friends and family. Djeimguero renders the expressive figures in his city with energetic lines of paint and ink, the landscape dancing around them with radiant patterns and surfaces embedded with an array of intricate costume jewelry. Text notations on the surface of the paintings document the lives of these neighbors, drawn from the artist’s careful observations of everyday life. The sculptural paintings wrap oversized Styrofoam sculptures–prismatic crystal clusters and stacked blocks–that transform them into homes for his community and a mountainous ecosystem so that they can live alongside one another and a thriving earth. Djeimguero carved into a few facets of the crystalline sculptures, creating windows that allow audiences to peer into the interiors of these homes where chains of beads and chunky bangles dangle, suggesting the value in the hidden interior lives we each lead.
The titles for Djeimguero’s pieces, “Become Like Honey,” “Become Like the Whole World,” and “Become Like Life Golden” (which was also shared with the overarching exhibition), implicitly
suggests an emergence from a place of isolation and hurt through the creative transformation he depicts. Djeimguero recognizes the disconnect and barriers that have formed through the pandemic, lack of access, the distance of migration, or challenges in communicating, and utilizes his creative process to highlight the joy and power of collaboration and life with one another–a deeply held personal vision, as well as a fitting echo of the collaboration between presenting organizations, and process between residents and teaching artists.
“Scavenging was like divination. I would talk with the artists about our projects, and I would always find the material to get us to the next steps. We needed pictures of food, I found cookbooks. We needed jewelry, I found a jewelry store. I felt like the dump wanted us to have what we needed.”
— Lacey Johnson, Teaching Artist
Many featured resident artists have often utilized recycled and scavenged materials in their practice but have explored new mediums and played with scale while at Recology. Ian Adams, who referenced landscapes and animals found in National Geographic magazines applied his technique using found house paint onto found wooden panels, while Ethel Revita, who is drawn to patterns of geometric shapes and color, has rollicked across mediums throughout the residency in painted, drawn, and embroidered work.
Work from Daniel Green, who conveys an intense and playful fascination with American entertainment and popular culture, will include an illustrated collection of record sleeves, and Julien Borromeo, influenced by Egyptian images, will present a cover for a sci-fi book. JD Green’s work demonstrates an eye for detail combined with a penchant for quick handwork. Green has been inspired by working onsite at Recology by the new and unexpected materials such as punching bags, jewelry, masks and spray paint, expanding his creative boundaries.
A condensed version of the full residency exhibition will be curated by Josefin Lundahl and shown at Creativity Explored after Recology from January 26-March 25th, 2023, titled RELOVE: Creativity Explored at Recology.
Creativity Explored is a studio-based collective in San Francisco that partners with developmentally disabled artists to celebrate and nurture the creative potential in all of us. Please visit https://www.creativityexplored.org/ for more information.
Participating Studio Artists
Joseph “JD” Green
Ayanna Wirsha Norwood
Participating Teaching Artists
(We are especially grateful to the following teaching artists who were trained to scavenge the materials used for this exhibition from the Recology Public Reuse and Recycling Area.)