Things I Am Not Supposed To Do On My Front Porch 4
I typically create art with metal and particulates, but due to the pandemic, I lost access to welding equipment and a well-ventilated workspace. Being quarantined at home limited what I was able to do. However, I had a conversation with my mother that was eye-opening with possibilities. We discussed my grandparents and how they created and played with rocks and sticks. From that conversation, I thought about my grandfather’s experience growing up. He lived with an abusive uncle who would make him sleep on the front porch. He did not have access to necessities. It made me take a step back and reflect on what I am able to do that he could not. Then I came up with activities that are not typically done on the front porch and began to create videos. I see the porch as a place to continue to create while practicing social distancing. I wanted to add a bit of a comical twist with the title to provide stress relief in order to cope with the emotional effects of COVID-19. The subjects in the videos range. For example, in episode three, I create milk foam, and in episode four, I embroider on the porch. I have used the time in quarantine to learn many skills and learn about my DNA and family history. I found out my grandmother crocheted, and made clothes and quilts, which inspired me to learn these skills too. I bleached-dyed a denim apron and painted a landscape on it using India ink, watercolors, and embroidery threads. The landscape references Texas farmland, which I am familiar. Monica Muñoz Martinez’s book, Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas, also, inspired the work. The book discusses events that took place during the early 20th century and the harm Texas Rangers caused to marginalized families, including placing Mexican/Indigenous bodies on and in the groves of the Mesquite tree. Yet, the Mesquite tree has also provided shade and comfort for families to join together in camaraderie. In episode four of my front porch series, I use a standard sewing machine to embroider the foliage of the Mesquite tree.
About the Artist
Marissa Baez, Centre County
Published: April 24, 2020