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In Search of Mother Nature, the artist revisits

March 14th will mark eight years since I presented my solo exhibit In Search of Mother Nature back in 2009 at Art House Productions in Jersey City, New Jersey. It was and is the biggest art show that I have put together! So much went into creating the exhibit that was a take on modern women as depictions of Mother Nature and a celebration of Women's History Month.

First of all since Art House Productions wasn't a stand alone gallery we decided to do three events in order for people to see the art during the month of March. There was a preview event called "Girls with Guitars" which featured female musicians and vocalists. This event only previewed a portion of the exhibit. Then we had the Opening Reception which included food, wine & entertainment! Finally we did a closing Karaoke party and then, of course, the remaining art that wasn't sold had to be taken down and packed up.

But to start it all I had to plan and photograph twenty women and even myself! Executive Director of Art House Productions, Christine Goodman, allowed me to use the space as a makeshift studio so I scheduled time slots with the women back to back and spent an entire day photographing a lot of the models, who happen to be willing friends of mine! The other photographs were taken on different days on location in either Jersey City or New York City. I photographed either on the street or at outside spots that were favorites of the women I was photographing. It's always easier when a model is comfortable in their surroundings!

Back then I was still shooting with 35mm color film so once all the pictures were taken I had to have all the rolls processed and then each film was scanned. I had done some research on different cultures and their own stories of Mother Nature or in some cases Mother Earth. I started Googling images and symbols that were used as visible references to Goddesses or divinities. I interpreted that information into my photographs using imaging software and in some cases worked in layers of nature and faces to create the works of art. This was very time consuming and I logged in many hours/days on the computer getting images I was happy with.

Some of them were printed as large canvas pieces and others were printed on photographic paper and then face mounted onto plexiglass to give them a clean "floating" look. They were hung on large, white art dividers that Art House Productions had on hand for art exhibits. I had a large celtic symbol of balance printed and installed it to the floor in order to center the space and draw people in.

At that time a friend of mine was teaching in an elementary school so I asked her if she could have her students draw their own pictures of what they thought Mother Nature would look like. When she gave them to me I was really touched at how some of the children's images looked similar to the art I had created. Their drawings became a part of the exhibit and they were hung on a separate wall close to the entrance of the space.

For the opening reception there was food, wine and a band playing by the name of Double-Breasted. They were a trio consisting of drums, harp, cello and vocals. I had seen them playing at another art opening and my wife asked them if they'd be willing to play at my reception and lucky for us they said yes! It really made for such a great time at the reception.

Thanks to my wife Catherine Hecht we had a great press release and the event was picked up by quite a few local news papers and I was even featured in the New Jersey LGBT magazine "Out In Jersey".

The opening reception was well attended and I sold many of the artworks but the really inspiring thing for me was the conversations I had that night and in the following weeks. People would express to me which was their favorite images and then go into how they interpreted what they were seeing. My heart was full being able to share with people I was just meeting and those I had known for a long time. And the ladies, seeing their images depicted in a way that they didn't see in themselves. That is something special to behold.

I look back at the body of work I created for that exhibit and I am proud of what I did. Of course, I see in the art some things I would do differently if I was to work on them currently but I know that I have to view those images as part of the path I had to walk as an artist in order to get to where I am now.

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