David Starr

Student Artist-in-Residence 2003-04
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Artist Statement

Where Is My Soul: An Anatomical Study of the Body
      Where is My Soul: An Anatomical Study of the Body
                                     Oil on Canvas


I'm fascinated with humans, not only their aesthetic beauty but also the intangible human spirit, our inherent nature to try to transcend a mere animal existence. I wanted this project to serve as inspiration to learn more about one's self. Many times you find people stating that we are just simple creatures when on the contrary we are the most complex structure on the planet. This residency was truly an exploration of self and in turn an exploration of my art. My background in multimedia has allotted an opportunity to merge classical painting with digital technology. This union of cutting edge technology and ancient hand skill has facilitated a far greater expression of self than I previously thought possible. This is why I found it appropriate to use myself as the model, the figurative exploration turned into a literally physical exploration of learning about ourselves. By keeping the faces intact I force the viewer to realize this is a person, not just an anatomy chart, and that this is inside all of us.

Another big aspect I wanted this project to touch on was the reality of spirituality. Every culture has a belief system that involves the supernatural; this is a universal role in cultural anthropology and sociology. If we deny this very element that is what differentiates us as humans for animals, we are left with a part of us longing for more to life, this is due to the fact that we are leaving a big part of us unfulfilled. I'm not trying to tell you what to believe; in fact I would encourage everyone to think for him or herself, and try to understand what things mean. I say this because from a social interactivist perspective, when you look for meaning in something you'll find it. So if you look for what good came from this situation you'll find it. If you look for what good can come from your life, you'll find it. The answers to the questions we have are out there, but we have to be willing to ask ourselves the toughest questions or we'll never find the most fundamental truths. This is why I entitled this work "Where is my soul: An anatomical study of the body." This ties directly into my belief system. I am very religious, but every major religious states, spirit is of spirit, and flesh is of flesh. I was raised in the Baha'i Faith, so the antitheses of faith and reason, science and religion has never made sense to me. I really feel that if we remember that flesh is of flesh, and spirit of spirit, spiritual writings can be far more helpful to us, as humans.