The Land of Rust and Pigskin
( Urban Grocery Store, Berlin, Germany, March 2017 )
Good afternoon from a spot on the map of the United States that I've only passed through on road trips, America's 17th state known as Ohio, where, flying in the face of the terminology 'flyover states', I've finally come to as its own destination. To those who have run across it in American news, you may have picked up that it is the land that gave birth to American football, and by no surprise is still home to a fanatic culture of fans at both the professional and college level.
( The Frank T. Bow Federal building, aka the former home of the office where the National Football League (NFL) was founded, Canton, Ohio, September 2018 )
If you've run across Ohio in a political context may have learned that it has the dubious distinction of its citizens consistently offering the majority of its votes to the candidate
for president who eventually wins and occupies the Oval Office (this can be said for every U.S. presidential election going back to the victory of Lyndon Johnson in 1964, and for
45 out of the 54 elections in which the state has participated going back to 1804). In this way, it is America's ultimate cross-section, non-deliberately but effectively representing the mentality of a nation whose trademark has forever been its own unpredictability.
This curiosity combined with an invitation to show a Finland-themed exhibition of mine
here in a Lutheran church has won me over and I can only use my slight sample of small prior visits, my experience of people who enjoy artwork from my travels and this handful of cultural knowledge to know what to expect.
( vinyl album of the Ohio Players 'Fire' on sale by a street vendor, New York City,
New York, January 2020 )
My best guess is based on the past is buildings that recall another century and more reminders of the weight, familiarity and rich taste of the American diet than I have experienced in the year since coming landing in the U.S., winter weather that will remind me of the value of staying inside and exposure to a political climate that will feel reminiscent of the past of the coastal and larger localities where my artwork has spent much of its time, while actually representing all that it ever has, which is America in the present day.
( Bus Station Exterior, Toledo, Ohio, January 2020 )