So I received a small grant to work on a project that I've been thinking about for a while now. When Hostess Brands, Inc. went under in November 2012, my initial thought was about what Twinkie the Kid's gravestone would look like and say. My second thought was about how many jobs were just lost, and what the former Hostess employees had to say about it. Through my alma mater, Massachusetts College of Art & Design, I applied for and received a modest grant to defer the cost of travel in order to create this project.
For this project, I asked a few of my close friends to come along and help me investigate former Hostess plants, union leaders and, most importantly, former employees. It is important to investigate the reasons why Hostess failed, why there are 18,500 people now out of work. Issues like this have a very appropriate place in art and the art I wish to create. I want this project to use Hostess as a vehicle to make the world smaller, to show how the closing of one company affects our country, how it is more than a story in the news, to educate and encourage awareness about labor in the United States, its importance and where it could improve. This project focuses on the effect these closings had on the employees, the struggles they face, who they blame, how it affects the communities surrounding the plants, and how it relates to our entire country. I am not trying to tell a certain story, but rather let the former employees and union personnel tell their stories and highlight the issues that they find most important.
On the road with me is Barak Soreff, a sociology student at Northeastern University, Rory Hamovit, a Bard graduate with his BFA in photography, and Liz Harper, a MassArt graduate with her BFA in illustration. During the trip we will be conducting interviews, documenting with video and sound recordings, photographing, sketching, and writing. Our output will consist of drawings, paintings, photographs, writing, and a video and sound production of our trip, all compiled eventually into a book and PDF encompassing the entire project.