Portfolio > Beyond Two Dimensions

Roots To Reality
Roots To Reality
Original Collage
18” x 24”

After the nightmare of the Covid pandemic became less intense and order was returning to society, Marcy McChesney started thinking about the challenges that everyone had endured in one way or another and how they had adapted to a new world of uncertainty. The pandemic had interrupted the daily routines, careers, comfort levels and well-being of many, and provided an opportunity to reevaluate their priorities. Some individuals flourished and took this opportunity to utilize their creativity and determination to pivot to a different field and higher quality of life. She was interested in hearing their stories and creating art based on their experiences.
Thanks to a City of San Antonio Department of Arts & Culture Individual Artist Grant, Marcy was able to turn this idea into a full scale project.
She began to interview San Antonio individuals whose lives had shifted dramatically during Covid, resulting in a positive change, including career, living situations, relationships and priority shifts. She commissioned San Antonio photographer Deborah Keller-Rihn to photograph the subjects, and then she created collages based on their photographs along with images specific to San Antonio and their individual stories.
The exhibition will feature the collages along with their accompanying individual stories.
There will be an interactive element to the exhibition, where people are invited to share their own Covid experiences. Marcy plans to continue her project, creating more collages based on others’ stories.
Phillip’s Story:
    My name is Phillip. I am an artist. I’ve been convinced of this since I was very young. After receiving my BA in Art from UTSA in 2009, I did what any Art graduate right out of college with three kids would do—look for a job. For eleven years I taught middle school art in the inner-city of San Antonio. The position had its ups and downs. I took great pride that I taught at the very school my dad attended. For several years the job gave me purpose. Pouring into young kids finding their way in life. I was in a position to foster the creativity of the next generation! Yep, pretty idealistic. By school year seven, I  started to feel exhausted and burned out. I kept pressing forward, managing classroom misbehaviors rather than inspiring the next great visionary in visual art.

By this time I had no energy, no motivation to create art. I was just going through the motions…then COVID hit. Then my mom died. I managed to squeeze one final school year out of my heavily fogged, grieving being. That summer, as I began to gear up for another first day of school in August, I stumbled upon a documentary— SignPainters. It highlighted the resurgence of the lost art/trade of sign painting. I was intrigued. I felt alive. I saw these artists steeped in processes that I paid no attention to prior. Something inside me clicked, all of my artistic endeavors came into sharp focus. “This is what I want to do,” I told myself. Through much support from my wife, I received her blessing. Shortly afterwards, I called my principal and informed her that I would not be returning that upcoming school year. I was convinced that I had to do something. I had to shake up my experience. I took a leap of faith and started my own freelance business called Roots to Reality.

It has been almost a year and a half since I made that decision. I’ve consistently had work the entire time (which I am so grateful for). I’ve cried, stressed, exhaled, problem-solved, put myself out there, prayed, doubted, pressed on, failed. One day I hope to teach others this unique art form, one day.