Arturo Alonzo Sandoval,USA
When I turned 51 I decided to document my self through the creation of an AGE TIMELINE series of self-portraits depicting my ages from early babyhood to the present. My intention was to reflect on my mortality through this series of images. I gathered several snapshot images and had them enlarged and mounted on black boards. I hired a professional photographer, Aimee Tomasek, to shoot the portraits. My professional hair stylist, Larry Ray, volunteered to cut and style my hair for each portrait where he matched the hair style as close as possible to the snapshot image. Aimee photographed me holding the mounted images with the new hair styles. Fifteen images were completed including documentation of myself before the hair cuttings and a portrait of me and Larry Ray.
Then at age 53 I decided to shave my head to see exactly what I looked like BALD. Larry Ray volunteered once again to do the shaving and my artist friend Carleton Wing videotaped the shaving processes. The video is hilarious! After the shaving was completed Carleton came to my home to photograph me using a polaroid and color picture film while I was either nude or dressed in my African Yoruba beaded shaman headress holding Yoruba chieftain beaded staffs, and closeup portraits wearing African hand embroidered and mudcloth caftans while sitting on African Akan chieftain stools. In some closeup images I am in front of my cormandel gold carved Chinese screen. These images led to the creation of three series self-portraits I titled OUT OF AFRICA, OUT OF DARKNESS INTO ART, and TORN IMAGES. These three series images actually represent personal expressions I used for the art quilt imaging workshops I conduct for Penland, Arrowmont, Peter's Valley or Haystack.
The AGE TIMELINE and the other three self-portrait images were installed locally in an exhibition titled, ONE/SELF/WORLD: ARTIST'S PORTRAITS in 1997 at Transylvnia University and received a very good response. The show was reviewed for DIALOGUE, the mid-west arts magazine, in their March/April 1997 issue.
Now at 55 I am growing out my hair again and don't plan on cutting it until the new Millennium in 2001. I will photo document how I look then and decide if I want to go bald or just go back to a more comfortable cut.
My feelings throughout the two hair cutting/loss instances were of inquiry, mortality and spirituality. Believe me POKING FUN AT MYSELF was also a great part of the creative venture.