The Faces Project
(See also FacesNotForgotten.com)
2013 Creative Stimulus project
awardees selected | Critical Mass


Faces Project on Fine Art America


Faces Project on Facebook


Artist Statement
Christine Ilewski

My work has always been “personal” despite the constant advice against it. I work from my center: my experience as a woman, a mother, a wife; a domestic, intimate life. Occasionally, I stumble into political content as in “King of Hearts, Power Puff Girl” in the Democracy Now exhibit at the Regional Arts Center.

I often incorporate found personal objects, or paint on these objects. I have long been fascinated in the way we leave a bit of our spirit on the things we touch and how these things tell our story after we’re gone.

Olivia Lahs-Gonzales, curator of the Sheldon Art Museum galleries, wrote about my work, “Cheerful, vibrant colors belie underlying serious psychological issues that often have to do with interpersonal relationships.”

One “interpersonal relationship” I have hesitated to explore in my work is the sudden violent death of my father when I was barely an adult. Afraid of over sentimentalizing that experience, I have mostly avoided it.

Last May, I woke up to a phone call. A close friend, Fr. Lorenzo Rosebaugh, OMI, had been gunned down in Guatemala. Twenty seven years ago, I woke to a similar phone call informing me of my father’s death, also by a hand gun. All of my current planned work came to a halt last May.

All seemed insignificant. Lorenzo was dearly revered by the children he served and had just buried two young teens, victims of gun violence. He worked tirelessly for social justice.

So last summer I began a project, “Faces,” painting the portraits of children who have died, the victims of gun violence. I paint a watercolor portrait of each child, which is donated to the family. An acrylic transfer of that image is used to collage the “Faces” on small vintage handkerchiefs. The handkerchiefs is symbolic for loss, the “found” fabric element constant in my work. I plan to exhibit these in various ways: strung together like the memorial funeral banners in South America; connected quilt like; bound into a soft fleshy book; and on websites that further protest gun violence.

The initial exhibit of three young teen “Faces” on handkerchiefs was at the St. Charles Foundry this Feb. in the National Women’s Caucus for the Arts exhibit. They had been juried into the show by Yolanda Lopez.

These children are not just numbers or statistics. Each one of them was a life ended. Each one has a face.

Is it personal? Yes. How can my audience feel moved by my work if I don’t first feel strongly moved to make it?



You may click each image for details and a closer look.


Baby Jason

Nikki

Geddy

Nick Kapusniak
age 20
by Christine Ilewski

Jaleel Jackson
age 15
by Christine Ilewski

William

Brandon

Tyrese Short
age 9

Armanti Bonner
by Jane Weiss Martin

Arrion Calvin
by Jane Weiss Martin

Michael

Charles
by Michael Bolton

Chauncey

Emily

Mikell

Jerome Triplett
by Evelyn Asterno

Johnathan

Juan
by Jean Vogel

Kiera
age 16
by Mindi Dennis

Raymond

Pierre Childs
age 16
by Audra Prinster

Romell Clemons Jr.
by Angela Wahby

Trey
by Dan Jaboor

Byron


Zac A


Past Exhibit
Vaughn Cultural Center
April 22 - 27, 2012


Faces Project

Frequently Asked Questions


WHAT IS IT?
The Faces project was started by artist, Christine Ilewski. She began painting portraits of children who have died from victims of gun violence in memory of Lorenzo Rosebaugh. It is her hope that by putting a face to these victims, we can raise awareness about gun violence in the USA.

HOW CAN I HELP?
You will be mailed a photo of a child who has died as a result of gun violence and will be asked to make a representational portraits of that child. The portrait ( a representational head and shoulders, size 9" x 11") goes to the family as a gift.

Send a .jpg file of your portrait for documentation and three zerox copies of your original portrait to Christine to be made into a Face on a handkerchief. These will join our collection of "Faces" for traveling exhibits.

CAN I USE ANY MEDIUM?
The portrait given to the family should be 2dimensional, representational, head and shoulders, 8.5"x11" in the media of your choice (watercolor, acrylic, oil, pencil, pastel)

CAN I KEEP THE PORTRAIT?
No. You will be donating your original portrait to the victim's family. The "copy" will become a Face on a Handkerchief and will join the traveling exhibition. You will be given credit for this portrait and listed as one of the exhibiting artists.

CAN I KEEP THE PHOTO?
No. We ask that you return the photo , along with your finished portrait to the family.

HOW LONG CAN I KEEP THE PHOTO AND WORK ON THE PORTRAIT?
We ask that you complete the portrait within one month from receiving the photo of the victim.

WHERE DO I SEND THE FINISHED COPIES, JPEG?
You will be sending the color copies of the portrait by mail to:
Christine Ilewski
436 Bluff Street
Alton, Illinois
cilewski@juno.com , christine.ilewski@gmail.com

WILL I BE REIMBURSED FOR PAINT, CANVAS, ART SUPPLIES AND POSTAGE COST?
Sorry, but we currently don't have the funding for art supplies and postage costs, but we're working on getting funding. We appreciate you taking the time, money and talent to do the portrait for the family and adding to the traveling FACES project. Just know that you are doing something to relieve the suffering of the victim's family as well as helping to raise gun violence awareness.

WHAT HAPPENS TO THE PORTRAIT/Face?
We will send your original portrait to the victim's family. Then your portrait interpretation Face may be exhibited in a gallery as we intend to take this project nationally. We are currently expanding the project to other cities.

DO I HAVE TO FRAME the PORTRAIT?
No you are not required to frame your portrait, unless you want to. That would be nice. I'm sure the victim's family would appreciate it.

CAN I MEET THE Victim's FAMILY?
Possibly. We plan on having more exhibits of The Faces Project. We invite the artist and the victim's families to the openings. Please include a business card or your contact information along with your portrait. We will pass your contact information on the victim's family if you wish.

I KNOW SOMEONE WHO'S CHILD WAS A VICTIM OF GUN VIOLENCE. WHO DO I CONTACT TO HAVE THEIR PORTRAIT DONE?
Please have the victim's family contact Christine Ilewski at cilewski@juno.com or Jane Linders at janelinders@sbcglobal.net. We'll match them up with an artist. We would love it if you helped spread the word. All families will be asked to sign a release form (found here in .RTF format, .DOCX format and .TXT format) that allows us to publicly display the images of their child. No commercial profit will be made from the display. We are asking that all children be under the age of 20 and that the families send a CLEAR photo of their loved one. Blurry images will not be accepted.

CAN I SELL MY PORTRAIT?
No. You will be donating your portrait to the victims family. We are strictly enforcing that no profit is to be made from the sale of these portraits.

CAN I POST MY PORTRAIT ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
Yes. Feel free to tweet, facebook, etc the portrait you made. This will help increase public awareness regarding gun violence in this country.

Christine Ilewski, founder of the Faces Project
www.ilewski.com
cilewski@juno.com

Jane Linders, St. Louis Director of the Faces Project
http://www.freewebs.com/janelinders
http://www.etsy.com/shop/jalinde
janelinders@sbcglobal.net