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fire exhibit orange county riley waite art portrait

Artist Statement

‘Playing with Fire’ is a series of portraits of teenage drug addicts using only soot from fire. A candlestick is placed underneath the paper to apply the soot and then several tools are used to take away the soot to ultimately form the portraits. The portraits are a flickering glimpse into the depressingly dark lives of addicts.

The reason behind this series stems from a young female addict who I recently befriended. Struggling with drug addiction and depression, she was at the cusp of ending her life. She is now one year sober and happy to be alive, but not everyone is so lucky. What I learned from the experience is that there is a whole community of addicts out there who think that they are just having a good time, but what they are really doing is playing with fire, about to get burned.

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