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Jim Arendt
South Carolina

Artist Statement Submitted 2018

My work explores the changing nature of labor. I remember my father sitting at the sewing machine patching his Wranglers in the evening after work. He was making do: A concept of thrift and pragmatism that dictates you work with the materials at hand. That memory mixed with the stories of other working people and led me to denim as a possible material. Denim seems created to be abused, worn out, patched, stained, and burnt through. Its characteristics are mirrored in the individuals I choose to represent. Yet, jeans remain supple, and with the right pair of boots can still go to the ball. I like that. The inherent qualities of denim make it a good choice. It is a universal fabric born in the dust of the cotton field, made supple by the sweat of garment workers, and embedded with the fading of second shift evenings.
Still, it's damn hard to make pictures out of it.
I guess I like that, too.

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