- Phil Hansen
When I was 7 (the artwork)
This project took all of 2017 to create. It was an amazing amount of time that went into it. It's was also an amazing amount of stories that went into it, over 600.
I found myself, as many people did over the last few years hearing about the war in Syria. I have always struggled (in a certain sense) to understand war as I've grown up without a war on our soil. It's difficult to imagine a military or other group coming through Minneapolis and just demolishing it. So as the news feed continuously put the Syrian war in front of me, the one story that struck me most was reading about Bana Alabed. She was a 7 year old girl that was live tweeting her war experience from Aleppo during the worst of the bombing. I remembered back to when I was 7, I was in first grade and my strongest memory was losing a lens from my glasses and the teacher recruiting everyone to help look for it.
I shared this experience and reflection with family and friends, which in my circle means that people will begin sharing their own stories. There's a pretty wide age range and so I heard 7 year old memories from the 4190's through the 2000's. I enjoyed the experience of hearing the memories and wanted to find a way to capture them. As you may have seen I enjoy doing really large scale handwritten artwork. So I set myself to task.
I spent about a year working on the project off and on. It occupied the studio a lot. The technique of making this text artwork was a little different than previous ones. Previously I spent a lot of time creating different shades with the text, spacing out the letters to create the variation. But this time I wanted the image to be very simple and stark. So I drew my image with very simple lines, translated it onto the wall and began filling it in.
One thing that I didn't know would be difficult was trying to keep the overall text to be the same shade as I worked my way across the picture. I had to keep referring to the first section I worked on to try to maintain that tone.
This project wasn't originally intended to be part of the Goodbye Art 2 series. It was my opus of 2017. But as I began the new series I realized that this was the type of project that should be part of the series. Something I thought shouldn't be destroyed.
If you'd like to see a tiny bit more about the project you can find a video about the book that came out of this project here on the blog as well.