Holding Freight Artist Statement
My art is usually developed over a period of years, and Holding Freight is no different. This series has been incubating for almost as long as I have lived in Illinois.
When I relocated to Joliet in 2009, the freight industry was already firmly established here. Because of its geography and proximity to Chicago, the movement of goods has shaped this area for a very long time. But massive changes in shipping and freight distribution have occurred over the last decade. Thanks to large intermodal projects, the region is now considered to be the nation’s largest inland port.
This growth has had immense impact on the area’s physical environment. Where I live, massive warehouses now dominate the landscape, and trucks proliferate the roads and highways. In Will County alone, there are over 300 warehouses. Along the I-80 and I-55 interstate corridors, the number of trucks on the road is equally staggering.
On a personal level, bearing witness to these changes has not been easy. This place is where I live, but with every new warehouse that is built, I become more resistant to calling it home. I fully recognize this reaction manifests itself because of my personal history, my outlook, my viewpoints, my aesthetic partialities and aversions. But I also clearly recognize this: an industrial complex—no matter its shape or form—is never the same thing as a community.
Holding Freight is cumbersome because unlike other series I have created, it is not focused on a particular conceptual idea. It is not even streamlined by a specific working method. Photographs, sculpture, and community activism are all tumbling together. For a long time, the different artworks I was making seemed to be very disparate from each other. After all, what does a whale have to do with an Amazon warehouse? But I am beginning to understand how they are connected; information keeps floating my way. By making work in this series, I am having faith in these connections. I am trusting that how we hold things together in our world can become less nebulous—for all of us.