Jay Sullivan grew up playing baseball.
His life changed direction when he received a film developer kit for Christmas.
It started an interest in image-making that gained him entrance into Rochester Institute of Technology where he studied photography.
He’s traveled to over 20 countries on four continents creating video works that featured President Jimmy Carter, Madeline Albright, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, Ossie Davis, the Ye minority in the remote mountains of southern China, Bambara farmers in Mali, and teenagers in the ghettos of Sao Paulo, Brazil. He lives and creates art in Red Bank, New Jersey, USA.
When I was five years old, my father suffered a bipolar breakdown and was sent to a psychiatric institution. It started him on a long descent from top IBM salesman to homeless on the streets of Brooklyn some 20 years later. Our relationship followed a similar trajectory. When he died we had spoken only twice in his final ten years.
I began Glove seeking to reconnect with my father by photographing the childhood objects that I most associated with him. Over time it became a journey into the emotional core of these objects, unearthing the feelings and memories associated with a black wallet, wingtip shoes, zippo lighter, baseball glove and many other long forgotten items.
The project was complicated by the fact that my father died indigent and I had very few items actually owned by him. I spent countless hours digging in thrift shops, at flea markets and on eBay looking for objects that connected him to me. I bought and photographed many items only to reject them later. I searched period advertising and publications looking for clues as to what was the right watch or the right hair crème. His objects became my objects as I sported a class ring and carried a black wallet until they were sufficiently worn.
The process was integral to the work and photographing these adopted objects resulted in a rich, visceral connection between me, the objects and long buried memories. Many of the memories were traumatic, connected to my father, the tragedies of his life, and the beliefs of a 5 year old child who thought it was all his fault. Glove helped me discover that fear confronted leads to fear released. I hope you find the same.
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