WE ARE HERE TO MAKE A MARK
Our souls enter this life with a purpose, and upon entry we make an impression. We all make marks on the world before we’re conscious of doing so.
The body itself is a mark-making tool. Young children intuitively recognize this.
When my son Clyde was born, I wanted to make art with him.
I wanted to make visible the invisible, unknown and unseen parts of his felt experience. What ways is he impressing upon the world that I couldn’t see?
I began to observe him, and to try to feel my way into his world. Which meant coming down to his level.
If not in arms, being a baby is all about being horizontal—being on the floor. The ground plane is where babies explore, play and orient their bodies to the physical world. Here they experience gravity. No longer floating in mother’s womb, here they develop the sensation of being grounded, and the understanding that they are inhabiting an independent physical body with weight and mass.
It is important for babies to spend time in the prone position—also known as tummy time—so they can develop the balance, coordination, and musculature needed to lift their head, to roll over, to sit up, and eventually to crawl.
AN IMPRINTING PROCESS
I invented a method to visualize Clyde’s physical experience of groundedness. I designed a monotype printmaking system that enabled him to make drawings using the pressure of his body that registered his movement on the ground. He became a human printing press
It started as a unique way of making art with him, but what emerged was a sacred space of honoring our bond as father and son. The care and attention we brought to the visible printmaking process became an outward expression of our love being invisibly imprinted upon one another throughout.
We began when Clyde was 11 weeks old, and continued until he was 10 months old, when he gained the independence and the agency to crawl his way off the paper and out of the project. In the end he created over 70 prints.
BABY’S FIRST DRAWING
Unlike conventional baby pictures, these images record the marks your baby naturally makes, visualizing the invisible energies that surround and support this new life. They express your baby’s physical presence and mark a fleeting moment in your child’s growth.
While the marks map your baby’s specific movements in time and space, they also hold an ambiguity that reflects all the mysteries that are to unfold for this new life.
These artworks are time-sensitive collaborations between baby, caregivers, and myself. If your baby is a pre-crawler in his or her tummy time phase, this is a special opportunity for you to collaborate on your baby’s first drawing.
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