HOLDUP in the HOOD is a body of work that documents an after-school, collaborative arts curriculum rooted in self-portraiture. I co-authored and teach the arts collaborative to inner city children in the Manchester section of Pittsburgh, PA. The program and subsequent documentation have run parallel over an 11 year period of time.
The photographic process I use to document my students is portraiture that incorporates drawings, re-cycled photographs and print media as well as body gesture to explore issues of race, class and gender.
HOLDUP in the HOOD focuses on the identity of self that comes with the realization of making one’s mark, The work is about social interaction and the collective image of these young creatives as they learn to assert their own representation. The ongoing development of that skill allows them to project themselves beyond the re-segregated, under-resourced public school classrooms and out into the world.
I am aware of and resonate with the larger artistic context that “HOLDUP in the HOOD” fits into as it engages youth in art-making as both a process of empowerment and investigation. Artists Wendy Ewald and Tim Rollins / K.O.S. are two artists that come to mind in that spirit but there are others exploring similar terrain.
Francis Crisafio: Pittsburgh, PA
My initial artistic background began in painting and printmaking with undergraduate studies at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Photography was a peripheral discipline I used to augment my work but became my main discipline in the early 1990‘s. I tend to focus on longterm photographic projects of which HOLDUP in the HOOD is one. I have been exhibiting images from this series since 2006 with the work being curated by Eli Reed, Larry Fink, Aline Smithson, Charles Guice, Mark Steinmetz, Lesley Martin and Alison Nordstrom amongst others. As I continue to evolve the project I am developing a multimedia approach to the material which will be featured in an installation at the Wood Street Galleries in Pittsburgh and sponsored by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust in the fall of 2013.