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The Community Story Lab: The Real Me

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In this month's Community Story Lab -- Venice Arts' year-long media arts project pairing adult community members with professional artists -- the participants turned their cameras on themselves, layering and complicating the meaning of the ubiquitous "selfie."

Lead Artist Michelle Glass presented some high-contrast collage work from historic artists and led them through a mind-mapping exercise. People reflected on big picture questions such as: What are the various communities in which a person is involved? How do these supposedly diverse communities join together to construct the pattern of our lives? With this exercise, participants identified the common stories that have snuck into all aspects of their lives. Participants then took a self portrait with digital cameras, manipulated it in Photoshop using newly learned photo-editing techniques, and carved the printed image into a printmaking stencil. The stencils were then laid over images of landscapes chosen by the participants. The resulting self portraits reflect the dynamic lives we all lead and the impossibility of creating a one-dimensional self-portrait of ourselves in our multi-dimensional worlds.

As Lead Artist Michelle writes: "In this workshop we discussed the self in community, each of our roles within each subset of the community, and how these roles or relationships help shape our identity. These roles may stay stagnant or they may be constantly shifting and changing. Within a community we may lead roles that are imposed upon us, or community members may have a preconceived idea of who we are and which roles we fit into. The concept of this project was to have participants give themselves permission to reimagine or redefine their roles within the community by creating a self-portrait."


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Sad you missed this workshop? Join us next month, September 7 from 1-4 p.m. for WHAT YOU THINK YOU NEED: Create Lost or Missing flyers that represent real, perceived, or embellished upon physical or internal attributes, using found or personally shot photographs.

The Community Story Lab is supported by a grant from The James Irvine Foundation.

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