Friday was a surreal day that started in Los Angeles, California and finished at the Hannibal Square Heritage Center in Winter Park, Florida. A cross country journey that became a pivotal point in my life. It was day that I will certainly look back on and says "things changed on that day."
I left LA early in the morning in order get back home in time for the opening reception of the Art of Hope Juried Exhibition. One of my photographs had been chosen for this exhibition.
I expected a few people to attend the opening, mostly the artists and their family members. I walked into a packed gallery. They gave me an official artist name tag and welcomed me like I was someone famous.
Keep in mind that I got off the plane and drove straight to pick the boys up from aftercare. We went directly to the gallery, but were still half an hour late. I wore no make up and my dirty hair was pulled back into a ponytail. Luckily, I was dressed somewhat decently and not in the my usual uniform of bermuda shorts that are two sizes too big and a t-shirt. This is only because is was a little cold in LA when I left and I didn't want to freeze on the plane.
In the room were representatives of Florida and Orlando's elite and powerful both white and african american. (And my children wanted to touch everything) I was introduced. I was revered. I keep thinking they were talking about someone else. I have always been the spectator. I have never been the spectacle.
This is an excerpt from the Curator's Statement that just blew me away.
"Just as we have been able to visualize great events of the past through artist's renderings, we now have the privilege of seeing contemporary artistic interpretations of this moment in time. To those artists that have been selected for inclusion in The Art of Hope, I offer my personal salute for their outstanding submissions. They now stand as commentators of history."
-Bobby Scroggins, Curator/Juror, Associate Professor of Art, University of Kentucky
Holy crap! All this for a girl whose photography professor told her not to bother taking Photography II (as in I'm no good at photography).
Then all the artists received Certificates of Special Recognition from Congress.
But by that time, my ego was so big I was slightly offended. I mean really... why wasn't Barack himself there? Why wasn't I awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor? The next juried exhibit they do should be called "The Art of Hoping To Be As Good As Lori Hudson's Art" and no one would win because they can't be as good as me.
Then Luke put me back in place by limping and begging to go home because his leg hurt and he was hungry and the coke tasted funny and he wanted to watch tv.
The piece that won Best of Show was truly amazing. It was a giant kite in the shape of President Obama's head. It was a perfect resemblance and filled an entire corner of the room floor to ceiling. The artist provided a video of the kite actually flying. It's tail in the shape of a blue necktie. It was thrilling, happy and the embodiment of hope. I really hope that Barack Obama gets to see it. I think he would be incredibly pleased.
Alright, internet, I'll show you the piece that is in the exhibit. I wanted to wait until after it opened so as not to steal any thunder from the curator and gallery. But if you are easily offended, you may not want to look. It shows Barack Obama naked and peeing on a cross. I'M TOTALLY KIDDING! IT IS NOT LIKE THAT AT ALL. Something just made me write that.
Anyway here it is shown the way it looked framed. Below it is my Artist Statement that explains my thoughts a little better. Thanks for allowing me to brag and gloat and process my thoughts on such an amazing event in my life.
Reflections on Hope
Lori S. Hudson
Capturing the concept of hope in a photograph can be a daunting task for a photographer. One evening while photographing a different assignment, however, I came across this postcard taped to a window of a storefront in Sanford, Florida. Obviously this store owner had hope. What struck me most was the reflection in the window of other business buildings across the street and on the postcard of President Obama depicted as Superman.
I used my almost 20 years of experience with Adobe Photoshop to alter the image somewhat. I saturated the colors of the postcard to give it an even more unreal (more unreal than thought of a President being like Superman) and graphic appearance. I chose to make to the rest of the image black and white. I wanted the buildings to appear more visible in the window and moody. I also liked that the window is slightly dirty.
I want my images to tell a story on many different levels. On the surface, one believes that the store owner supports Barack Obama. When the reflection is added in black and white and the colors are brightened, the image deepens to say that perhaps too much hope was placed on this President. Maybe he is being held to a standard he could not possibly achieve. The black and white businesses in the reflection say that times are still tough in this small town. They juxtapose the reality of life with the hope.