Using a historically important medium--portraiture--to hold up a mirror to the diverse American spirit.
Driven by the belief that each American deserves recognition and appreciation for his or her active role in forming the character of the United States, Emile B. Klein embarks on the first of his fifty chapter saga in Massachusetts. From now through August, Mr. Klein will travel throughout the state by bicycle, acting as a literal “artist in residence,” living with fellow Americans who will provide room and board in exchange for a portrait by the artist. Meanwhile, Mr. Klein will document the lives of his sitters in writing as well as video and audio recording. The culmination of the project will be an exhibition of the portraits from all states, each accompanied by recorded conversations and a short biography.
Given the chance to live with his subjects, the artist can deepen his perspective into each of their characters while forming a vision of the collective spirit of the nation. The project proposes to touch Americans across all lines of income, race and locale to present a modern living portrait of the country’s glorious diversity in the classic medium of formal portraiture.
Why Representational Painting?
A painting is a hand-crafted object of art. It is the result of a contemplative artistic process, one in which a special relationship between artist and subject is created along with the work on the canvas. The representational style is accessible to a wide range of people.
Mr. Klein was inspired by reading of the German carpenters known as the Zimmerman, who even in the modern day and age serve an apprenticeship by traveling the country exchanging their craft for room and board. Cycling also places the artist in direct physical contact with the country he wishes to paint. To boot, cycling has the added benefit of improving one’s health.
Capturing American Diversity to Find its Similarity
Why is it that a foreigner can spot an American in a crowd? What is that character that crosses the boundaries of age, class and education to make us all particularly American, whether we are Internet-savvy teenagers, butchers or Wall Street businessmen? Through interaction with diverse people an understanding can be found out.
From his beginnings in California Emile B. Klein has immersed himself in the arts. Through the great generosity of his parents he has pursued study both in the US and abroad. In 2004 Emile moved to Florence, Italy, to study in the methods of Old Masters. Subsequently, he has sold paintings, taught and lectured in the US and Europe. Emile has recently finished Massachusetts and is looking for applicants for Chapter two, California.
You too can participate!
You're US is currently scouting for participants; writers for creative biographies, musician's to feature with interviews, US bicycle makers, and most importantly, people to paint. Any person living in the USA is eligible.
Emile B Klein, 646-248-2979, firstname.lastname@example.org