My practice is at the intersections of art, activism, critical design, and creative resistance to consumer culture. My interests in brand critique, consumer culture, photographic representation, labor, and race find form in net-based works, experimental journalism, public interventions, and through published writing.
Increasingly, linguistics is central in my work. I analyzed the texts of the axe-wielding Best Made Co. men so that I could learn to talk like an entrepreneurial man with courage in my DNA in order to start an artisanal plunger company and answer emails as its CEO. I recreated a talk by the president of Shinola and learned about g-dropping and other stances. And I studied the rhetorical commonalities between communications by Trump and those of Ann Arbor’s ‘staunch Democratic’ parents who rejected democratic ideals in arguing that public education should be like any other commodity, owned by taxpayers, and therefore under the control of affluent parents.
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I earned my BFA from Alfred University. Alfred’s art school has a strong community and, in my opinion, the best foundations program in the country. The prompts they gave the first-year students — “make something move across the room” or “use your body to demonstrate the concept of time” — were unfathomable and unsettling. I failed most them, and that was one of their beauties. I still think about them. I earned my MFA in Art Photography from Syracuse University where I was lucky to have advisors who asked pressing questions that got to the heart of things.
I am currently a Professor in the Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan.