Arkansas Farm is an art series created over several decades on and surrounding what was my grandparents' farm on the edge of the Mississippi Delta in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas.
My maternal grandparents grew rice, soybeans, and wheat. Their farm was two hours away from Greers Ferry Lake where my parents and I lived, buy my parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents were from Northeast Arkansas and I spent a lot of time there growing up. The two very contrasting regions of the flat farmland of the Delta and the forested hills of the Ozarks have always deeply shaped my Arkansas artwork.
My aunt painted as a hobby when I was younger. She painted farm scenes on small canvases and objects like iron plow points from the farm. I can very clearly remember sitting beside her at my grandmother's dining room table and painting my first oil painting when I was five-years-old of my grandfather’s barn. That first painting marked the beginning of the multi-decade series of artwork that you see here. I can remember being inside the old barn from that painting but by then there was more dust holding it together than nails and it didn’t last much longer.
To the right of the shed was the dilapidated remains of a two-room shotgun-style house (not currently pictured here but photos will be coming in a future update). I was in the old house several times as a kid. The shed never bothered me, but the house was creepy. The rules were (1) look out for snakes and (2) try not to fall through the floor because you will probably land on a snake. My mother and aunt grew up here, and my mother grew up picking a lot of cotton in the roasting Southern heat. A few years ago my wife and I rented an apartment in Paris in a building older than the United States. I think about how different my family’s life was back then versus elsewhere in the world. My great grandfather had been born in Paris.
What is gathered here is a work-in-progress. Most of the photography currently shown was shot on film in my mid-twenties. Over time I will be adding later digital photography work, and I'm continuing to scan negatives and slides and will be adding more film work going back to my childhood. All of the work in this series is from the farm itself or within the immediate vicinity. Additional rural and agricultural work that is not part of this series will be collected in Arkansas & the American South. Much more will be added there soon as well.