We’re Going on a Mall Tour!

The last I Am More exhibit before the pandemic was The Northshore Mall in Peabody, Massachusetts. It came about because I needed a location for the North Shore Regional Exhibit of I Am More: Massachusetts. It needed to be BIG with lots of PEOPLE in order to have the greatest impact, so I did what any professional event planner does and opened up Google Maps for the north shore, looked for the biggest dot on the map, and declared it the host.

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I Am More: Kate

One of our favorite places to walk the dog is the Sunset Mountain Trail in West Gloucester that ends at the Mt. Jacob Cemetery. It’s a small Jewish cemetery at the edge the woods; small enough to get to know the stones as you pass through. There is one that is different from any I had ever seen before–it’s hollow, an oval carved out of a rectangle, rough enough that you could almost believe it occurred naturally. It moves me every time I see it. When I first met with Kate to discuss her experiences as a widow, she showed me a manuscript she had written of a memoir. There were short, sweet memories of her life with “my Mitch,” and illustrations of the objects that made up her new life. As she was showing me each one she said, “Here is his gravestone,” and there was a little ink sketch of a hollow stone; an oval carved out of a rectangle. The care and significance that she put into every detail of their life together resonated with me in that cemetery before I even knew her.

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I Am More: Jerri

Lately the word “paradox” has been following me around, trying to make me understand it without success. One of the Merriam-Webster definitions of a paradox is “one (such as a person, situation or action) having seemingly contradictory qualities or phases.” When I sat down to write this I realized Jerri is a paradox. The most composed, pleasant, polite, and organized person described a life filled with trauma, disorder and disease. When we first began talking about collaborating she laughed and said, “Do you have a limit on challenges?”

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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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