My sketchbook contains entries about my daily life during one point in time. Watercolor, collaged scraps of paper, sketches, and handwritten entries tell the stories of personal relationships, life in New York City, and a business trip to the Middle East.
As the sketchbook evolves, whimsical images become more stark and expressive, and humorous observations become news briefs. These topics include the New York State Legislature’s initial (negative) vote on gay marriage in 2009, news about an actress who came out of the closet, and bombings in Afghanistan involving my brother and sister-in-law. By linking my personal anecdotes with news on the national and international stage, the sketchbook ties my own stories to larger concerns such as the war on terrorism and the LGBT community’s struggle for full equality.
Artists often wonder if their own concerns matter to anyone else. Creating this sketchbook while residing in another country allowed me to observe my home culture through another culture’s lens. Encountering my own fears and concerns in others validated them. As I reflected on my personal experiences as a gay person, and worried about my family’s safety in a war zone, I was confronted with the concerns of an entire LGBT culture, and the fears of military families everywhere. This experience verified for me that the big issues of the world are made up of the personal concerns of many individuals.
The sketchbook makes the case that the personal is not only important, but universal. The personal is also political.