Helen Werner Cox
The work presented here is from a series in progress, The Millennials, featuring intimate portraits of young people I know. I am excited about all aspects of their diversity, and how they exercise freedom of expression. These are not extremists, but regular, interesting individuals whom I value.
Collaborating with the model is essential to the process. It developed gradually. First, we used the model’s preference for particular colors to influence the selection of background colors. I asked them to bring in objects of significance to themselves. We worked to find poses natural to them. Often, we discovered the best pose during the breaks when the model was relaxing. This made the positions easier to hold than anything artificial I might have constructed.
As the collaborative process evolved, it provided a unique opportunity to give voice to the young people who pose. For example, I asked Darwin if I could appropriate his selfies as the basis for observational drawings. The resulting images have a double layer of meaning—his intent and my interpretation. Sharing the artistic process allows me to explore pathways I would otherwise not have imagined.
Constant exploration and discovery push me in different directions at different times, which I consider critical for growth. The Millennials is figurative, observational, and metaphorical.