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  • Swoon

    Art Brokerage: Swoon American Artist: b. 1978. Swoon (born 1978 in New London, Connecticut), whose real name is Caledonia Dance Curry, is a street artist who specializes in life-size wheatpaste prints and paper cutouts of human figures. She studied at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and started doing street art around 1999 and large-scale installations in 2005. Swoon regularly pastes works depicting people, often her friends and family, on the streets around the world. She usually pastes her pieces on uninhabited locations such as abandoned buildings, bridges, fire escapes, water towers and street signs. Her work is inspired by both art historical and folk sources, ranging from German Expressionist wood block prints to Indonesian shadow puppets. Swoon started her street art in 1999. At the time she was attending Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and studying painting. However she began to feel suffocated by the sense that her life was already laid out for her. She believed that she would simply paint a few pictures that would end up on a wall in a gallery or someone’s home. Her art would only be seen by those affluent enough to go to galleries and buy art. At the same time she was trying to find what she describes as context. She wanted to become part of the world. Her response to this desire was what she believes to be a very literal one: she glued her art to walls. Wheat pasting became a way for her to discover and understand her impact in the world. She describes that as a young women she did not have a sense of her ability to make a change. By putting up a small wheat paste, she was able to transform a wall and it would be there when she walked past it the next day. It was a tiny literal change. The majority of Swoon’s street art are portraits. She believes that we store things in our body and that a portrait can become an x-ray of those experiences. She wants her portraits to capture something essential in the subject. She tries to document something she loves about the subject and has seen in him or her. It is a way to connect with the subject. By putting the portraits on the streets she is allowing for others to witness this connection and make their own. One such connection has stuck with her throughout the years, mentioning it in multiple interviews. She met a woman who asked her about a small piece of art that she had put up in a neighborhood. The woman proceeded to tell her that a mentally disabled man who lived in the neighborhood had started to call it “The Secret” and he would take people to it and show them. The little piece had become a special thing in the community. This moment has had an impact on Swoon, telling her that one tiny thing can make an opportunity for connection and can inspire the feeling that maybe there is another world existing around us and that we only need a perception shift in order to see it. She has since tried to evoke this in all of her other artwork. Originally she believed her series of portraits would be a two-month project but she has continued to make them for over ten years.

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