The Making of Jonathan

Jonathan’s I Am More portrait is one of the ones that kills me that you can’t see it in person, because the little photo on this blog is a really inadequate representation of the actual portrait. It’s the same with Chris and Friends, Justin, and Sophie. The subject matter in each (five people, a Crossfit gym, a full-body pose) required room for me to maneuver. Jonathan’s was different because his was the journey of a failed game of Twilight Zone pinball.

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I Am More: Jonathan

It’s been two years since I added a new portrait to I Am More. We’ve been through a hell of a lot since then, and as we all stand around dumfounded, trying to figure out who we are anymore, I decided I missed this project. When I put the call out for new volunteers there was a deafening…silence from the crowd. Just because I felt the calling doesn’t mean anybody else did. So I turned to a trusted friend, one of my oldest, to see if he would dip his toes in with me, and share what he had discussed with me over the pandemic. He has cheered me on from the beginning, and has also given birth to his own creative project, on top of being a successful voiceover artist (the Voice of SiriusXM’s 70s on 7, it’s exciting EVERY time!). He said he would be honored, so I said, go and make some videos of yourself doing something you love. And that love is…Twilight Zone pinball. Thanks, Jonathan, for lending your voice to reignite this project, and to your friend for capturing you in all your pinball glory (or defeat, it appears to be defeat).

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Salem State

There are two tired individuals in this house (and one tired dog with no excuse). Today we put up our biggest exhibit ever, with all 36 I Am More portraits and essays at the Salem State University Berry Library. Between breaking down the Paint Factory exhibit, wrapping, renting a van, loading, driving back and forth to Salem, unloading, PR (thanks Áine!), hanging (thanks Chris!), dog care (thanks Ulla!), graphic design (thanks Dylan!), all the way down to the details of cleaning and leveling the portraits, these two people are pooped.

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Copper

You may remember the portrait of Yorkies Zoey and Prince from January. Well, they were actually the second portrait of dogs I was commissioned to do over the holidays. The first was top secret…until yesterday. So after quite a long time with no portrait commissions I had two requests in December within days of each other, and both were of dogs. But Copper was a dog I knew.

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Sasha

Nine years ago we bought an artist’s summer cottage as our new home. The artist who had created this space was Nell Blaine, and despite being confined to a wheelchair and limited to the use of her left hand, she left a catalogue of beloved paintings of her view and her gardens, with the help of gardeners and landscape designers. When we moved in Nell had been gone for sixteen years and the remaining garden designer gave us a tour of the acre property. There were rare native plants, a “fan garden,” hosta collection, a babbling brook…so many lovely things that met their demise when I took over, but that was just half the property. The rest was wild. And not just wild…angry wild.

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Steven

“The best people.” That’s what our friend Kevin called Karen and Steven. He didn’t just say that, he said, “You HAVE to meet Karen and Steven, they are the BEST people.” I was looking for some theatre advice for my aspiring actress, and Kevin said Karen was the person to know, she managed one of the busiest theaters in the region and she would be happy to help. I thought Kevin was being naive that this incredibly busy woman would have time to help someone she had never heard of but I was wrong.

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Wellesley Free Library

We’re back. Today Iain and I put up the first I Am More: Massachusetts exhibit since March at the Wellesley Free Library. The library reached out to me over a year ago to suggest hosting the exhibit and I assumed it would be canceled like everything else, but they said, no, everyone needs art right now–it’s happening. It is a big beautiful library and the exhibit is in the lobby just inside the entrance, and in the Wakelin Room just off the lobby for the month of January. Thank you to the librarians, staff and volunteers in every community library.

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