Artist Background Before 2020
I received my MFA in photography from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1990. Both before then and after then, I often included photomontage and photo collage with my ‘straight’ photographs. I like mixing it up with materials and over the years have added painting and collage. I have exhibited my work nationally, but more recently have focused on local venues.
ALTERNATIVE WORLDS 2020
As 2020 approached, I knew it would be a tough year since it was starting off with impeachment and we had been hearing about the 2020 election for months. In the past I have done many series that could be considered political. As I entered into 2020 I decided to begin a collage series that was not political and would speak to a wider world that could exist at any time in history.
Making and constructing the collages was really healing and I worked day and night, thinking I should just go for it while I was in a high art making mode and that I would get back out in the world when the days got longer. I felt really good about the world.
I decided to navigate 2020 through collage so that I could concentrate on getting through the year and feeling at peace with making my way in a positive manner through the conflict and stress that was spreading out into society from our government. I realized I was creating Alternative Worlds.
Then the pandemic hit.
When the pandemic hit, like most people I did not think it would last too long. San Francisco was the first place to announce shelter in place. Most of the City cooperated immediately. While things were shutting down it seemed that one of the main places people were missing was going to the beach. The beach is only 4 miles from where I live and I pulled out an earlier picture of the beach and digitally altered the photo to turn it into a dream of the beach.
Dreaming about the beach cheered me up and I posted it on social media to try to cheer up my friends. I began making other dream pictures by digitally altering photographs from places I had been and planned to go back to when the quarantine was over. I also looked forward to just hanging out with friends at bars, something easy and not too challenging to plan for when we could go out again.
One of the beauties of starting the quarantine dream series was that it has long been my habit to take pictures wherever I was, in my neighborhood or traveling. Photography is central to my life. Now I had those pictures to go through to make this series and to remind me of life before the quarantine and what it would be again after the quarantine.
As the year continued, I kept working with both the collages and the digitally altered photographs. Even though we were quarantined, because I was concentrating on my art, I woke up every morning looking forward to the day.
Then it became clear that the situation in the United States, my country, was dire. I was so used to living in a country that is number one in so many things. If there was a problem, I was used to relying on the great medical resources and skills this country has to get the United States through like champs.
This was not to be. I began feeling trapped and my dream pictures began to reflect that. I could not stay optimistic every single day. The reality of having a government that was making things worse instead of better just could not help but be reflected in my art. I alternated between making pieces that looked forward to the future and those that feared the future.
I am putting a lot of thought to where I go next with my art. It is now where I do all my traveling.
Right now, her work can be seen at pamelapitt.com