This shout-out is for friend, colleague, mentor, and artist Ed Wedman, aka Arthur Jacob. Arthur Jacob Gallery. Every image and every word on the Faces of Addiction website is there because Ed Wedman designed this site, built it, and updates it.
Ed has put well over a hundred hours into this project, and it wouldn’t be alive today without his continuing efforts.
On Friday Faces of Addiction reached an important goal — 30 addicted persons interviewed and photographed! Our initial goal was 30-50, and we have met the first one — now on to the 50 person goal.
What I’m learning as this process continues is how much addicted people need to feel seen and heard. And how much they need help … and frequently don’t know how to ask for it or need more courage to ask for it. On Friday, Andre Barker told me “it hurts when people refuse to look at you. Sometimes a smile is worth more than a dollar.”
So thank you to volunteers Andre Barker and TJ Ferris of Covington for getting us to what was a goal, and is now a waypoint. On Sunday we’re scheduled for another shoot — onwards to the goal of 50!
Taking the photos and writing the stories is only leg one in bringing Faces of Addiction to the public. Production and distribution are the other two legs of the triangle. We plan to do both physical displays for museums and art centers plus electronic versions for the widest possible access. Now, thanks to friend Roger Arvid Anderson, nationally known sculptor, collector, and fine-art photographer, we have found a gallery and book designer, David Wilson. You can see David’s work for Roger here:
David will do the gallery / book design for use on the ISSUU.com platform – ISSUU automatically reformats for desktop, tablet, and cellphone use. It also serves as a template for a print book. Plans currently call for a high-quality 8.5 x 11 printed book. David is doing the design work for Faces of Addiction at a very large discount in order to support the project. Thank you, Roger and David!
ISSU.com costs $39 / month. Contributions are needed to make this happen. Please use our donations button on the Get Involvedpage!
A couple of days ago I was asked by a potential sponsor to give him an “elevator speech” (the time it takes the elevator to go from one floor to the next) on the permanent impact of this project. Here it is:
Faces of Addiction uses portraits and stories to shift the conversation around addiction. It’s the difference between saying (and thinking) “an addict” and “an addicted person.” One’s a thing, the other a human, and that’s the point. This change makes compassion possible. If people see these faces and read these stories, they will be able to make the shift. If a few thousand experience this, that’s to the good. If it’s half a million or more, that’s making a real social change.
That’s the elevator speech. 30 seconds. I’m glad I was asked the question, because while I knew what the impact was, I’d never explained it properly. Faces of Addiction is a project to enable compassion.
Faces of Addiction will feature 50 portraits and life stories. As of 3/26, we reached the half-way mark. Twenty-five addicted persons have stepped forward to share their stories of addiction, and a few more are penciled in for coming weeks. We salute their courage!
We need to show the diverse nature of addiction. To that end, we’re looking for addicted persons of color, or of differing ethnic or cultural backgrounds. We are also looking for high-functioning addicts who hold responsible positions, and for people who were deeply addicted and who are now leading happy, successful lives due to their recovery programs (and their own commitment).
By all means, if you’re in one of these groups, please contact us today. Your story can help change the conversation! Just visit the “get involved” page and let us know your interest.
As of today, we have completed 23 portraits and life-stories. Nearly half-way to the 50 portrait goal! More portrait volunteers are needed, especially in the Cincinnati area. Younger addicts in particular are wanted.
We have had many unlooked-for and positive results from doing the portraits and interviews. All participants feel lighter, more validated as people for having participated. And the McDonald’s gift card we provide every portrait volunteer is turning out to be very, very welcome.
If you’re an addicted person and read this, consider volunteering. You will be welcomed!
Faces of Addiction is an art project to increase awareness and understanding of addiction through fine-art portraits of addicts, along with brief stories of their lives. The goal is to enable viewers to relate to addicts as individuals, not as numbers, statistics, or labels.
This website is now officially up and running. Faces of Addiction, Inc is now an Ohio non-profit corporation, and our tax-exempt tax status certification is in the works. We have also been busy interviewing portrait volunteers and creating biographies and final portraits. All this takes time and effort, and is incredibly exciting. Thanks to all who have participated and volunteered their help so far!
On Tuesday, March 6, sponsor Mike Harris, a recovering alcohlic who has founded a club for recovering alcoholics (and others) in Hamilton, OH, accompanied photog Eric Hatch on a field trip to locate and recruit volunteer portrait subjects. By day’s end we had met, recruited, interviewed, and photographed six persons. A huge leap forward!