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Artist Statement

Joel Swanson is a visual artist working in the studios at 306 West Cross Street in Ypsilanti, Michigan. His work aims to show what it means to be alive. The paintings attempt to reimagine the origins of ancient Celtic patterns as complex forms made by self-organized strokes of color. The life-size video portraits offer viewers a chance to regard another living human at close range. Some of the models for portraits are confined to a Portrait Box; others sit or stand as though they were posing for a painted portrait. The video records reveal that no two people pose alike, yet each reveals an essential spirit.


The paintings and video portraits of the Ypsilanti Portrait Project can be seen in window displays, and are available for purchase. Portraits may be commissioned, as well. 

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