Ruth Crowe - The Journal Project
Ruth Crowe - The Journal Project
A Little About Myself and My Art.
My degree is in Art Education but I never really wanted to teach in a classroom setting. I abandoned my art for over 30 years to pursue a life in the US Army, LA police officer, and collegiate softball coach. I finally made my way back to art when I taught myself Photoshop and started my own graphic design business. Lucky for me, I sold that business after 11 years and now devote my time and energy to creating my own art.
Creating ART is the thing that keeps me grounded. I love vintage photographs and re-telling the stories of the subjects. The snapshots of a split second that capture their lives forever in that instant. The stone faced stares, the cautious smirks, or the joyful laughter that make up our daily existence and speak more about a person that most words could describe.
My work is a fusion of vintage photography that has been digitally altered and combined with layers of other images, photos, and sometimes words. I re-create a new story about the characters; my own story, from my own experiences. I either use regular wood panels or plastered wood panels with layers of wax and images melted within. All designs/photographs used in Photoshop and additional elements added after or before image transfer. My art, along with myself, are works in progress!
The Journal Project
The Journal Project is a year long project I started in 2022. I have accumulated over 70 journals over a 43 year period and counting. I felt that my stories might help others share their stories.
I started keeping a journal in 1979 during my sophomore year in college. At first it was just a place to write down quotes or poems I enjoyed but became my refuge for the next 43 years and counting. I have accumulated 72 journals that have traveled with me throughout my lifetime living in 11 different states but also keeping my journals by my side while visiting many other states and countries in the world.
On occasion I would try to re-read these journals without success. It was just too hard to see who I was and the mistakes I made in the past. I wasn’t strong enough mentally or emotionally.
In January 2022 I decided I was ready to tackle this albatross that I carried with me all these years. Starting with BOOK 1 and reading word for word, in order, my lifetime of experiences, regrets, struggles, mistakes, and also some joys. It was heart crushing and difficult to come face to face with those experiences but I plowed through each one. Confronting my demons face to face, head-on.
HINDSIGHT is so much easier after the fact. How we judge ourselves and view what we did back then and who we were through the lens of who we are now.
I have created these pieces to reflect upon some of the monumental events that shaped my life and hopefully will resonate with the viewer. We are more alike than different. But growing up Gay in that time period was very difficult and made my story much different than the straight norm. In these current times of bigotry reasserting itself in the world we need to be aware of the challenges that “others” face every day. Whether that “other” is a different color, sexuality, or gender.
I hope you see my stories represented in the visual images and hear my stories in the written word. Journals aren’t really a hiding place but rather a finding place. Despite the fact that they are basically one-sided stories and just a sliver of the truth and a sliver of our days on this Earth.
I can admit that my life was not normal - I had a lot of odd experiences. I believe its because I put myself out there and I wasn’t afraid of taking chances or afraid of risk or allowing my heart to be crushed. It’s just me. Ruth Ella Crowe.
As part of The Journal Project, CultureVerse scanned piles of Ruth's journals and Ruth on top of and under the journals, then added them to a custom virtual experience that could first be featured during the ROOT3 exhibit at CultureVerse Gallery during December 2022 and January 2023 and later travel to other galleries hosting The Journal Project. Scroll down to see these finished scans inside the virtual space:
Each artwork in the Journal Project is paired with a personal story written and told by Ruth, a quote, and a song. CultureVerse worked with local recording studio Big Sky Recording to capture audio of Ruth recording 30 stories (thanks Big Sky!). The audio and the songs that Ruth curated are an important part of each art piece. Below, listen to the full project as Ruth relives her past, observes her present, considers her future, and to each song she chose to complete the story. You can also Launch Spotify to listen to these songs in full:
I wanted the artwork to be able to stand alone but the story is AS important as the art work and should be experienced together.
Below is a custom virtual gallery that showcases the entire Journal Project, including the scans of Ruth and Ruth's journals, as well as the recorded stories behind each piece. Listen to Ruth's audio retelling as you inspect the artwork to experience The Journal Project fully. Explore the gallery by moving around the room to see all 30 pieces and their story.
The experience is available on computer using a mouse or trackpad, or on mobile by tapping an image, object, or desired location. Click below to step inside: