Excerpt from an interview I did for Videofocus Magazine about this piece –
“This video was directly influenced by gender norms perpetuated in Rural America communities. The stoicism valued in “Men” has been of interest for me for some time. I have a collection of materials related to this topic, but one of the most stand out for me is a quote attributed to the Western genre movie star Marion Robert Morrison, better known as John Wayne. “Talk Low, Talk Slow, and Don’t Say Too Much”. What a weighty collection of words. Their particular target would be boys and men watching this genre of film where the good guys’ lines are few but their punches and bullets are plenty.
As I was chewing on this quote, I made a decision early on that the words needed to be on my body somehow. I had to wear them in some way, carry them or try to feel their weight. Warning, here comes a bit of parent influence on an artist’s work. One evening helping my young son with his bath I watched him put foam bath letters on his chest to try and form words. Wanting to help him learn words, I showed him how to form very small words, one of which was boy. After showing him how to spell it, he wet the letters and put them on his chest. That was a wild moment for me. He wasn’t labeling himself in a conscious way, but this action became an incredibly powerful metaphor for me that my mind held on to tightly up until the point I created this work. “